Italy changes course in 2022

By Oscar Redondo

Correspondent in Italy

Prime Minister Mario Draghi, a renowned economist trained in the United States, former president of the European Central Bank and close to former right-wing head of government Silvio Berlusconi, resigned in the middle of this year from that position, which he held since February 2021 in the midst of a crisis, with a country paralyzed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The conflict in Ukraine, which since February of this year has affected the world and in particular the European region, aggravated the internal political imbalance and precipitated the Draghian collapse, initially predicted for the second quarter of 2023, since it was difficult to continue after the elections generals scheduled for May of that year.

The struggle for power between the right and the left was clearly evidenced in the regional elections of June 2022. In the first round of the municipal elections, held on the 12th of that month, the ultra-right coalition formed victoriously premiered by FdI, La Liga and Forza Italia (FI).

The Italians who went to the polls in 980 of the country’s seven thousand 904 municipalities, to elect mayors and councilors who will serve until 2027, voted overwhelmingly in favor of conservatism in important places such as Genoa, L’Aquila and Palermo, capitals of the regions from Liguria, Abruzzo and Sicily, respectively.

However, just 15 days later, in the second round, the balance tipped in favor of the leftist alliance between the Democratic Party (PD) and the 5-Star Movement (M5S), the latter the majority force in Parliament and the broad winner. with 32.7 percent of the votes, in the previous general elections of March 2018.

On June 26, both united forces managed to prevail in towns such as Parma, Cuneo, Alessandría, Verona, Catanzaro, Monza and Piacenza, while of the 13 capitals in dispute in this second round, the right-wing alliance lost six of the 10 that were under his sign.


But the division was already beginning to crack internally at the M5S, and externally at the leftist forces as a whole. On June 19, a week before going to the polls, the leadership of that party released a draft parliamentary resolution that generated strong controversy.

It condemned the supply of weapons to Ukraine by Italy because, in the opinion of the signatories, it led to an escalation of the conflict that made its diplomatic solution difficult, which was rejected by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maggio, a member of that formation, who announced his departure from it.

The president of the PD, Enrico Letta, also disagreed with this position of the M5S, which represented a majority position of Italian public opinion, but not of its political elite, more interested in preserving its alignment with the European Union (EU), the Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) and the United States.

While Di Maggio and Letta threw darts against the M5S, the extreme right licked the wounds of the failure of June 26 and Giorgia Meloni, Matteo Salvini and Berlusconi, leaders of FdI, La Liga and FI, respectively, closed ranks determined to gain control. of the country’s destinations.

On June 30, an event occurred that precipitated the events, as a result of a dispute between Draghi and Giuseppe Conte, leader of the M5S, who described as inadmissible interference the alleged efforts of the president to try to remove him from his position at the head of the movement.

On July 6, Conte handed the president a nine-point document, with claims for “extraordinary measures,” and just a week later his party abstained from the Senate vote on an aid decree, considering it insufficient, which accentuated the government coalition crisis.

Meloni, leader of the FdI, then demanded that the general elections be held as soon as possible. “Enough of the fights and little palace games on the skin of Italy and Italians, have the courage and dignity to present yourself to the citizens,” he said via Twitter, in his first public message in this regard.

The polls carried out in those days already placed FdI as the favorite to win the next elections, with between 22 and 24 percent of the votes, while the PD had between 21 and 23 percent in those polls, La Liga ranked third with 15 percent and FI registered between 7 and 10 percent preference.

Despite the fact that on July 14 Draghi achieved the approval of his legislative proposal in the Senate, the abstention of the M5S served as an argument to present his resignation as prime minister to President Sergio Mattarella, who rejected it and recommended that he invoke the 20 July in Congress the support of the parliamentary majority.

However, that day not only the pentastellares, but also La Liga and FI, the main exponents of the right in the government alliance, turned their backs on the president and, a few hours later, Mattarella accepted Draghi’s resignation, after which he summoned general elections for September 25.


On July 27, Berlusconi, Salvini and Meloni signed a pact according to which the new head of government would be the leader of the party with the most votes in those elections, which meant that, based on the polls among voters, probably that position it would be assumed by the president of FdI, as it finally happened.

During the electoral campaign, the polls generally coincided with what was forecast since the end of June, with few variations. The extreme right consolidated its unity at all costs, while the left deepened its divisions and condemned itself to the failure that occurred at the polls on the last Sunday of the third quarter.

The results of the votes on September 25 marked a political turning point in this country, where a far-right coalition will govern for the next five years, which triumphed with 44.02 percent of the vote.

The FdI led the conservative alliance, with more than 25 percent of the votes, other political forces that were part of it obtained more modest results. The PD achieved just 19.0, while the precarious union of the left added just 26.0 percent overall, and the isolated M5S reached 15.0 percentage points.

In this way, the ultra-conservative coalition won an absolute majority in Parliament, with 237 of the 400 deputies and 113 of the 200 senators, and on October 22 Meloni became the first woman to lead a government considered the most right-wing. in Italy since the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.


Italy changes course in 2022 – Prensa Latina