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Can Giorgia Meloni become Italy's Marina Le Penn


Written by Giorgio Ghillione

WHEN the ship Sea Watch docked at an Italian port and 42 migrants who had been rescued at sea disembarked in late June, in defiance of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s order, the far-right Italian politician Giorgia Meloni suggested on Twitter that the ship ought to be seized and sunk, after arresting the crew.

The tweet was pretty much in line with Salvini’s rhetoric against rescue ships—only more extreme.

Outside of Italy, Meloni is far less famous than Salvini, who is largely seen as the country’s de facto leader. But at home, Meloni has become one of Italy’s most prominent right-wing politicians. The head of Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), a small but growing post-fascist party, she is the one ally from the right whom Salvini’s League party hasn’t cannibalized.

Despite moving his party to the right, Salvini has been more successful at stealing votes from the center-right Forza Italia party than from the nationalist right. As a result, the ally he needs going forward isn’t a man from the center, but a woman from the far-right.