Giorgia Meloni is all about with Enrico Michetti: in Rome her leadership on the center-right is at stake


“Did I go well?” Tuesday, lunch time. Giorgia Meloni, leader of Fratelli d’Italia, has just finished reassuring journalists and photographers at a press conference that no, she does not “take on” the radio candidate-tribune Enrico Michetti, sitting next to her, to bring him to win the ballot in Rome against the former minister of Roberto Gualtieri, because Michetti is “an esteemed professional” who will do everything himself. And a moment later he, coach 30 per cent in the first round, the one who should but does not bite, is in charge of denying it: “Did I go well?”, He asks her. “Yes, you did well,” she condescends.


Well, but not very well: always the same, let’s say, which is the real condemnation of the mediocre. Constantly there: three meters above the slumber. In the riot of “procedural segments”, “administrative machines”, the “rush” of new metro stops, paradoxical promises to write down all the mayor’s measures by themselves (“enough with the excessive power of the heads of the cabinet!”, Is the slogan, very popular), an inconsistency that even Meloni fights like a patriot, starting to nod vigorously, as if to wake up, every time in her eyes the fixed and watery gaze of someone who is about to fall asleep is painted.

Here is the real struggle, the real assumption to support what should be the business card of the center-right with traction Brothers of Italy, the one capable of regaining the protest vote through the man called does not know how to recapture suburbs disappointed by Virginia Raggi’s Grillino populism, and in fact remained dramatically at home in the first round, increasing the number of abstentions which reached record percentages. The curse of Rome is all there, a central battle for the balance of the future of the center-right, the quintessence of the pincer that tightens around the possible leadership of Giorgia Meloni, the one that the moment indicates as the most eligible candidate in the role of boss, especially after the vote confirmed the collapse in the Lega’s polls. And if Matteo Salvini, one of the main “scoppole” recipients of this electoral round, was very ready precisely for this reason to set up an aria from “Papeete bis” first of all by goring the fiscal delegation approved in the Council of Ministers (without Lega), evidently attempted from passing too to the opposition as Brothers of Italy, now it is she who has to come out as the winner, however: she who thought that anyone would do well in order to win in Rome, according to what on the right they call “Caligula’s horse syndrome”. And that, apart from the shadow of the investigation started by the work of Fanpage which involves the MEP Carlo Fidanza, events that make little difference, for a world that has digested bunga bunga, Vikings, dental hygienists, batman, elegant dinners, nephews of Mubarak, he must first of all be careful about this: that his constituents stay awake.


Faraway, so close. The much-announced novelty actually arrived with last Sunday’s administrative meetings: within the paradox of a strong center-right in the polls and weak in the polls, Fratelli d’Italia is an exception. It grows. And the face of the coalition that was Berlusconi changes. In the first post-Covid-19 electoral test, in the big cities FDI outperforms the League everywhere: in Turin, where it goes from 1.6 to 10 percent; in Bologna, where it quintuples the percentages to 12; in Rome, where it is close to 18 percent (three times the League) and in practice it is second only to the coalition-list in support of Carlo Calenda (third for the Democratic Party). Even in Milan, Fdi stops just one point below the Carroccio: 9.9, against 10.7 percent. Exactly mirrored, the League sees its consensus collapse, compared to regional and European, sometimes even below the levels of 2016: in Milan, where today it is at 10.7, it was 11.8 percent five years ago (but 18 for one hundred in the regional ones, and 27 percent in the 2019 European ones). Same as Bologna: 10.3 in 2016, now 7.7, but in the Europeans it had reached 18.5. In the capital, where it is now just over 6 per cent, in the Europeans it was 25.8. Similar results in Turin, where it stops just below 10, but was almost 27 per cent in 2019. In short: it is as if the breath of wind that made Matteo Salvini climb a couple of years ago had moved to Fratelli d’Italia. Clear and risky trend.


So close, but so far. At the moment Meloni in fact risks ending up as the protagonist of a piece by Emidio Clementi of Massimo Volume: «He takes a run, takes flight. He caresses the dream, but he can’t tighten his grip. ” The fear, which is wedged right into the Brothers of Italy, is that Meloni could end up in the same way as Salvini: the success, very much in the media, consumed in a short time, before being able to translate the local polls and votes into power. Before being able to grab the race for Palazzo Chigi, maximum and well-known ambition.


A possibility of early fading that, as far as Meloni is concerned, is also debated within the party, even among the most solid supporters of the leader, between discontent and controversy over her latest choices, starting with the name for the race to the Capitol: decided at the last moment, yes, and even as a fallback, but which he still wanted with all his might. At the cost of excluding his circles, and of displeasing the whole world of the reloaded Fiamma tricolore, forced to campaign alongside a candidate whose statements, tell between myth and reality, “are filtered by four whatsapp chats” but who basically, despite having crowds of people at his disposal, does his own thing, does not study, relies mainly on his magic circle of Radio Radio, headed by the journalist Fulvio Focolari. All this, of course, surfaces in the informal chatter. On the contrary, as per the Missina tradition, in Fdi they are very good at explaining the choice that they did not understand. “Putting a civic candidate in the race for Rome in place of one like Rampelli, serves to collect votes even outside the enclosure of this center-right,” explains patient Fabio Rampelli, vice president of the Chamber, the main “politician” excluded from the race to the Capitol. Another is Guido Bertolaso, the man who in 2016 committed suicide politically by saying that Meloni should not apply because she would have been too busy being a mother.


The field at the moment is vast, even too large. The moderate center-right was not born, like Giancarlo Giorgetti, the one who could rely on candidates like the Turin-born Paolo Damilano, who is behind in the ballot with the dem Stefano Lo Russo but had started to win in the first round; or on the Roman Carlo Calenda, whom the minister of economic development had explicitly supported five days before the vote. However, not even the populist center-right gave the paw, which also would have a lot to collect from the undertow of the Grillino vote, in crisis everywhere and in free exit, after the flare-up of recent years. Certainly, in this sense, the choice of “civic” candidates did not pay off anywhere: as if it were an out-of-fashion option, especially for a world that with one hand has chosen to abandon the shores of the traditional right to throw itself on ambiguous support of a libertarian-no vax type, with the other he continues to make money with the votes won by a random descendant of the Mussolini family (this time a record of preferences for Rachele, Alessandra’s sister on the father’s side). All the margin, at this point, is entrusted to Meloni, who should complete the pop operation in the style of “Io sono Giorgia”, the title of his autobiography. In the streets it works, on social networks too, in the polls it is still to be really seen: the risk, a little like Giuseppe Conte who in this electoral round, given the grillino collapse, has fully achieved the hendiadys full squares / empty urns, is that it works the character, more than the political leader. And that in the end the whole thing boils down to a selfie contest, Facebook direct and popularity, while the polls are becoming more and more distant and difficult to reach.


Source: L'Espresso – News, inchieste e approfondimenti Espresso by espresso.repubblica.it.

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