“Italy’s Election and the Rise of Hard Right Conservativism”, Andrea Dessì and Vassilis Ntousas (IAI, Italy) 

Italy will soon be governed by its most radical right-wing government since World War II. Come 25 September, a coalition of political parties – dominated by the hard-right and anti-migrant Brothers of Italy party (Fratelli d’Italia – FdI) and Matteo Salvini’s League (Lega) – appears poised to secure a clear, if not resounding, majority in parliament. This will return Italy to a right-wing government, the first since Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition collapsed amidst the risk of Italian bankruptcy back in 2011. Despite its neo-fascist roots, heading the polls with about 25 per cent of the vote is Giorgia Meloni’s FdI, the frontrunner to become the country’s first female premier and first far-right head of government in Italy’s Republican history. Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Go Italy (Forza Italia) party are the other major members of the right-wing coalition, whose impact if elected will reverberate far beyond Italy. For Europe, the polls are another indication of the spread of hard-right conservativism, following the French National Front’s electoral gains over the past few years and the recent victory by the Sweden Democrats this September 

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