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Giorgia Meloni's Rise in Italian Politics

Campaign Overview

Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d'Italia, FdI), experienced a significant rise in Italian politics, culminating in her becoming the Prime Minister of Italy in October 2022. This case study examines the strategies, challenges, and outcomes that marked her ascension and the growth of her party.

Context and Background

Giorgia Meloni, a long-time political figure, has been involved in right-wing politics since her teenage years. Brothers of Italy, a national-conservative party, was founded in 2012 by Meloni and other former members of the National Alliance. The party remained a minor force in Italian politics until the 2018 general election, where it began to gain traction, winning 4,35% of votes.

Campaign Strategy

  1. National-Conservative Messaging: Meloni's campaign emphasized national sovereignty, traditional values, and conservative social policies. This included a strong stance against illegal immigration, promoting Italian culture, and advocating for traditional family structures. This resonated with a segment of the electorate concerned about globalization and the perceived erosion of national identity.
  2. Populist Appeal: Meloni positioned herself as a populist leader, connecting with voters frustrated by the political establishment. She criticized the European Union's influence on Italy, portraying herself as a defender of Italian sovereignty. This anti-establishment rhetoric helped galvanize support among disaffected voters​.
  3. Social Media and Media Presence: Meloni effectively utilized social media to reach a broad audience, regularly posting videos and updates on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Her strong media presence included frequent appearances on television, where she articulated her party's positions and criticized her opponents. This helped boost her visibility and connect with voters directly.
  4. Coalition Building: Meloni's strategic alliances with other right-wing parties, such as Matteo Salvini's Lega and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, were crucial. These coalitions helped consolidate the right-wing vote and presented a united front against the center-left and populist Five Star Movement (M5S).

Key Challenges

  1. Overcoming a Fragmented Right: Uniting the often fragmented right-wing parties in Italy was a significant challenge. Meloni had to navigate ideological differences and power struggles within the coalition, ensuring that her party maintained its identity while cooperating effectively with allies​​​​.
  2. Reputation Management: Meloni faced the challenge of distancing her party from its post-fascist roots and appealing to a broader electorate. This involved rebranding efforts and focusing on contemporary issues rather than historical legacies.

Results and Impact

The 2022 general election was a turning point, with Brothers of Italy becoming the largest party in the right-wing coalition. Meloni's party won 26% of the vote, and she was subsequently appointed Prime Minister, becoming Italy's first female leader. Her rise marked a significant shift in Italian politics, reflecting the broader trend of right-wing growth in Europe​.

Conclusion

Giorgia Meloni's rise in Italian politics illustrates the effective use of sovereignist and traditionalist messaging, strategic media engagement and coalition-building. Her success demonstrates the shifting political landscape in Italy and the growing appeal of right-wing in addressing voters' concerns about national identity and sovereignty.

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