Massive Foreign Meddling in Italian Elections… But Not From Russia
Italy experienced the fiercest foreign meddling in elections ever, with the possible exception of 1948, when her place in the western camp was at stake, threatened by a possible victory of the Popular Front.
Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Fratelli d’Italia party and most probably the new Prime Minister, had outdone herself in swearing allegiance to NATO, to the U.S. and to Brussels. And yet, the mainstream media, think tanks and transatlantic political figures warned and warned of the danger of a center-right victory and the installation of Mrs. Meloni in Rome’s Palazzo Chigi.
On the Ukraine conflict, Meloni claimed that she was more hawkish than Mario Draghi, he himself being among the most hawkish in the EU. She sent her emissary, Adolfo Urso, to Kiev to manifest her support for the Zelensky regime. And on election eve, in an interview with the Taiwan news agency CNA, she promised that, if elected, she would not renew the 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and China, or Italy’s membership in the Belt and Road Initiative. On economic policy, another of her emissaries, Guido Crosetto, stated that her government would not deviate from EU-dictated rigor, but she would call on Draghi to help draft together the next budget plan.
Apparently, this was not enough for the transatlantic elites. Exemplary is an analysis published Sept. 22 by the Atlantic Council, one of the leading Anglo-American think-tanks, which concluded that “there seems to be little concern about whether Italy will remain a solid transatlantic partner, but the big question mark looms over relations with Europe. Will Italy fight at any cost for a Europe whole and free, or will it simply squabble with other European countries? As the Italians say, non si sa — no one knows.”
Indeed, Meloni has been a close ally of Hungary’s Victor Orban, with whom she and her party share the view that national law should have preeminence over European law. The perspective that Italy, the third largest EU member state, join forces with the tiny Hungary and maybe Poland in blocking the EU’s so-called “integration” process is a nightmare for Brussels, Paris and Berlin, so much so that Ursula von der Leyen literally issued threats on the eve of the vote, in the event of a center-right victory. Speaking in Princeton, she said: “We’ll see. If things go in a difficult direction — and I’ve spoken about Hungary and Poland — we have the tools.”
And a senior White House official had told reporters three days before that President Biden would “take measure of” the new Prime Minister and “make a determination about what it’s going to mean”.Even German Chancellor Olaf Scholz broke protocol one week before the vote, urging Italians not to vote for “Meloni’s post-fascists who would lead the country in a wrong direction”.
In the end, the only one who did not interfere in the Italian elections was Vladimir Putin! All this is unprecedented, showing the hysterical fear that Giorgia Meloni might, despite her assurances, be pushed by events and by her allies to get out of control.
Indeed, both Matteo Salvini (Lega) and Silvio Berlusconi (Forza Italia), have campaigned for a review of the sanctions on Russia, which have boomeranged on Europe and Italy, a major consumer of Russian gas. A few days before the vote, Berlusconi stated in a television spot that he is convinced that Putin’s original intention with the military operation was “to replace Zelensky with decent people”. With their low election results, Salvini’s and Berlusconi’s weight in the coalition is not what they expected, but they know that the majority of Italians are against the sanctions, according to several polls, which is something the future Meloni government cannot simply ignore.