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Giorgia Meloni wants to alienate the opposition left in the European Union

Giorgia Meloni wants to alienate the opposition left in the European Union

When Giorgia Meloni, prime minister since September 2022, announced that she would top the EU election list for her right-wing nationalist party, she justified it by saying she wanted to send the European left into opposition. Just as it did in Italy.

-I have always considered myself a soldier. Soldiers, when needed, do not hesitate to take their places on the front, as Giorgia Meloni said when she launched her candidacy. As reported by the Euractiv news website.

The slogan on the banner on the platform was: “Italy changes Europe.”

She is not the only Italian leader to top her party's list of candidates in the European Union elections. He is also Elie Schlein of the Social Democratic Party, and Antonio Tajani, the new party leader after Silvio Berlusconi of the Forza Italia party. Tajani is Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Meloni government of Georgia.

None of the three They intend to take their seats in the European Parliament when elected. There is nothing in EU electoral law that prohibits this, but each country decides what applies.

– This is unthinkable in France or Sweden, but in Italy everything is seen as internal politics, explains university lecturer Cecilia Sotelotta, at the University for Foreign Students in Perugia.

According to her, the EU elections are primarily an opinion poll on domestic politics. Giorgia Meloni wants to prove that she still leads the largest party.

Photo: La Presse/Roberto Monaldo/Shutterstock/TT

Cecilia Sotelota embodies the 2019 European Union elections. Then-Interior Minister and party leader Matteo Salvini was the front-runner for his far-right Lega party. Lija made a great choice. Salvini believes he can become Prime Minister of Italy if he succeeds in overcoming the government crisis by holding new elections later.

– But he failed miserably.

This time, opinion polls indicate that Giorgia Meloni's siblings in Italy are able to advance strongly in the European Union elections. And in Italy, with constant changes of government, it is still very popular.

– Giorgia Meloni was able to take advantage of the fact that it was the only opposition party to the previously very unpopular government. After she took power, she was very careful and avoided the strategic mistakes made by her predecessors, says Cecilia Sotelota.

An election poster in Milan showing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Photo: Biagisi/Zuma Press/TT

But Giorgia Meloni is also the leader of a party with fascist roots. Before her election, she was mainly vilified by foreign media, according to Cecilia Sotelota.

– I played into her hands. Those around her have noticed that she is not a monster. She is pro-NATO, pro-Ukraine and quite disciplined on budget matters. She is more centrist than some other Italian politicians.

Political scientist Cecilia Sotelota It also confirms that Giorgia Meloni is benefiting from the fact that the opposition Social Democrats are experiencing major internal conflict.

Therefore, Prime Minister Meloni has come to appear as a moderate on many political issues, while party members prefer her to remain ultra-conservative on social issues, such as gay rights and abortion.

– Cecilia Sotelota says she uses every loophole in the law to make it harder for women to get an abortion.

Political scientist Cecilia Sotelotta at the University of Foreign Students in Perugia.

Photo: University of Foreigners of Perugia

It is not only in Italy that a sitting prime minister runs for election. In Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic leads the votes of his ruling conservative party, HDZ. Few believe he will actually make it to the European Parliament. Instead, the nomination is seen as a signal from Plenkovic that he is ready to leave domestic politics (he has been prime minister since 2016) to undertake international duties.

When the DN scans the ballots In the European Union countries some interesting names appear.

In Belgium, two former prime ministers are running: Sophie Wilmes for the Liberals, and Elio Di Rupo for the Social Democrats. Former prime ministers also want to become EU parliamentarians in Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Two EU Commissioners have today registered their interest in the EU elections: Virginius Sinkevicius, responsible for marine environment and fisheries, is running for his Green Country Party in Lithuania. Valdis Dombrovskis, who is in charge of trade issues, is on the list of his conservative party in Latvia.

Former Finnish Interior Minister and former Green Party leader, Maria Ohisalo, is running for the European Union Parliament.

Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

Current and former ministers are candidates in more countries. In Finland, for example, the Green Party was launched by Ville Niinistö and Maria Ohisalo, who were party leaders and Ministers of the Environment and Ministers of the Interior respectively. Liberal Party leader Lee Andersson, a former education minister, is also in the running, as is Swedish People's Party leader and current Education Minister Anna-Mia Henriksson.

More exotic candidates She is sea captain Carola Rackett who wants to be elected to the German team Die Linke. She became an overnight celebrity when in 2019 she defied the Italian coast guard and docked on the island of Lampedusa on the ship Sea-Watch with 42 asylum seekers on board. Then-Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the far-right League party called her a pirate.

Carola Racquet was placed under house arrest for three days, but the Italian court decided years ago to dismiss her case on the grounds that she had acted to save lives.

Sea captain and activist Carola Rackett is running for the German Left Party.

Photo: Karl Josef Hildenbrand/DPA/TT

In Greece, the ruling conservative New Democracy party has two candidates with ties to Albania. One is Greek ethnicity Freddy Belleri, Mayor of Himara, Albania. There he sits, deprived of his freedom, recently convicted of corruption. The government in Athens believes that the ruling is politically motivated and hopes that he will be able to obtain immunity if he becomes a member of Parliament.

The other candidate is former three-time Olympic weightlifting champion, Pyros Dimas, born in Himara to Greek parents. He competed for Albania until 1991, when he fled the country and became a Greek citizen.

facts.European Union elections in 2024

27 EU countries go to the polls from June 6 to 9 to elect 720 members of the European Parliament.

In Sweden, election day is June 9. Starting May 22, you can vote early.

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