Italy’s right-wing Giorgia Meloni will become the country’s first female prime minister after a historic victory in Sunday’s national election, and conservatives across the European continent have declared the electoral success as marking a seismic shift in public opinion away from the liberal status quo.
One of the first to congratulate the Fratelli d’Italia leader was former French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who praised the Italian people’s decision to “take their destiny into their own hands by electing a patriotic and sovereignist government.”
She expressed her delight that both Meloni and her right-wing coalition partner-to-be, Matteo Salvini, had resisted the threats of an “anti-democratic and arrogant European Union by obtaining this great victory.”
Le Pen’s remarks were echoed by her niece, Marion Maréchal, who tweeted: “She knew how to hold on, she knew how to unite,” and declared the victory “good news for the defense of our civilization!”
Similarly in France, fellow conservative Éric Zemmour wrote: “From Sweden to Italy, we have been experiencing in recent weeks the second union of the victorious right in Europe, the cement of which is indeed the question of identity.”
Zemmour alluded to the right-wing electoral victory in Sweden earlier this month, a move that will see the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats holding great influence.
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In Spain, the Vox populists said that Meloni’s victory “marks the path of a new Europe of free and sovereign nations. The people will decide their future, without asking permission from any oligarch.”
Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted his congratulations to Meloni, as did Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s advisor Balázs Orbán, who added that “in these difficult times, we need more than ever friends who share a common vision and approach to Europe’s challenges.
“Long live the Hungarian-Italian friendship!” Orbán said.
The real possibility of a conservative victory in Italy’s national poll was met with dismay from Brussels in the lead up to the vote. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen even went so far to suggest that the European Union “has tools” for dealing with unfavorable election results, as seen previously in Poland and Hungary, remarks that sparked outrage among Europe’s right.
Following the vote, British conservative and prominent Brexiteer, Nigel Farage, tweeted: “What ‘tools will the awful von der Leyen use? Thank God we have left!”
Naturally, not all were happy with Italy’s swing to the right, with many sitting governments officials in safer left-wing nations expressing their concern.
Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares, from the Socialist party, lamented the result as a by-product of Europe’s current uncertainty.
“In moments of uncertainty, populism always acquires importance and always ends the same way: in catastrophe,” he claimed.
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Meanwhile, some European lawmakers used the victory to push for deeper European integration. German Greens MEP Daniel Freund tweeted his regret that Hungary, Poland, and soon Italy will have leaders unafraid to veto power in the European Union, adding: “We should have scrapped unanimity a long time ago.”