Showing posts with label Alleanza Nationale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alleanza Nationale. Show all posts

15 January 2023

Giorgia Meloni - politician

Italy’s first female prime minister 

Giorgia Meloni, the first woman to be elected Italy's PM, on the day she was asked to form a government
Giorgia Meloni, the first woman to be elected Italy's
PM, on the day she was asked to form a government

Politician Giorgia Meloni, who was elected as Italy’s first female prime minister in October 2022, was born on this day in 1977 in Rome.

Meloni, head of the Fratelli d’Italia party of which she is a co-founder, is a controversial figure in that her political roots are in the Italian Social Movement (MSI), the party formed by supporters of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini after World War Two. In the past, she has described Mussolini as a “good politician” but one who “made mistakes”. 

Yet she rejects accusations that Fratelli d’Italia - Brothers of Italy - is a far-right party, despite adopting the fascist slogan ‘God, family, fatherland’ and incorporating the tricolore flame from the MSI logo within FdI’s own branding.

Meloni came from a fractured family background. Her Sardinian father, Francesco, left her Sicilian mother, Anna, when she was a year old and she and her older sister, Arianna, were brought up largely by her mother in the working class Garbatella area of Rome.

She studied languages at the Istituto Amerigo Vespucci, a high school about 50 minutes across Rome from where she lived, and today describes herself as able to speak Spanish, English and French as well as her native tongue.

A teenaged Meloni unfurls a banner for the Youth Action movement
A teenaged Meloni unfurls a banner
for the Youth Action movement
It was while she was at high school that she became politically active, joining Azione Giovani, the youth wing of the Italian Social Movement, before switching to the once neo-fascist Alleanza Nazionale (AN), itself an MSI offshoot. 

As an AN candidate, she was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in 2006, standing in the Lazio 1 constituency, the boundaries of which correspond to those of the Metropolitan City of Rome.

Re-elected in 2008 on the list of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, which brought together the AN and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Meloni became the youngest cabinet minister in the history of the Italian Republic when Berlusconi made her Minister for Youth at the age of 31.

Her membership of People of Freedom ended in 2012, however, after a disagreement over the party’s support for technocrat prime minister Mario Monti. With Ignazio LaRussa, Guido Crosetto and others, she formed Fratelli d’Italia, of which she became president in 2014.

Under Meloni’s leadership, Fdl grew from winning just four per cent of the vote at the 2018 general elections to 26 per cent in the snap election of 2022, which made Fratelli d’Italia the biggest single party in the Italian parliament.

Although both Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration Lega saw their share of the vote fall, they joined with Fratelli d’Italia in a coalition worth around 44 per cent of votes in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, enough to outvote the centre-left Democratic Party and the populist Five Star Movement even if they were to join forces.

The FdI's logo incorporates the tricolore flame of the MSI
The FdI's logo incorporates
the tricolore flame of the MSI
Meloni describes herself as mainstream conservative and a Christian, although her political position is less forgiving in many areas than other European politicians who would identify themselves similarly.

For example, she is opposed to abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and LGBT parenting, and supports a naval blockade to stop boats carrying immigrants across the Mediterranean. While committed to NATO, she was generally lukewarm about the European Union until the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, after which she distanced herself from previous comments on forging better relations with Vladimir Putin and pledged to keep sending Italian arms to Ukraine.

Meloni’s opponents frequently cite her approval for Mussolini and coalition with Salvini as a warning that Italy may lurch to the right under her premiership, yet Fratelli d’Italia have gone on record as condemning both the suppression of democracy and the introduction of the Italian racial laws by Mussolini’s regime. Meloni herself insists that there is no place for fascist nostalgia in her party and that her own links with it are in the past.

Although not married, Meloni shares a home with Andrea Giambruno, a journalist for TGcom24, a news channel within Berlusconi’s Mediaset group. They have a daughter, Ginevra, who was born in 2016.

The Art Nouveau design of the Teatro Palladio, a well-known feature of the Garbatella district
The Art Nouveau design of the Teatro Palladio,
a well-known feature of the Garbatella district
Travel tip:

Although traditionally working class, the Garbatella neighbourhood of Rome, where Giorgia Meloni grew up, is becoming increasingly trendy among young Romans, drawn to it having the feeling of a village within the metropolis.  Situated in Municipio VIII district south of the city centre near the Ostiense railway station, Garbatella was built in the 1920s, inspired by the English garden city, largely made up of single-family houses grouped around communal garden courtyards. It has some interesting architectural styles, including the Teatro Palladio in Piazza Bartolomeo Romano, an example of Art Nouveau style designed by Innocenzo Sabbatini in 1927. Garbatella today has a population of more than 45,000.

The Palazzo Monticitorio was chosen as the home of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in 1871
The Palazzo Monticitorio was chosen as the home
of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in 1871
Travel tip:

The Italian Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Italian parliament, sits at the Palazzo Montecitorio, which can be found between the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. The Palazzo Chigi, official residence of Italian prime ministers, is nearby. Palazzo Montecitorio was originally designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Ludovico Ludovisi, the nephew of Pope Gregory XV. Following Italian unification, the palace was chosen as the seat of the Chamber of Deputies in 1871 but the building proved inadequate for their needs, with poor acoustics and a tendency to become overheated in summer and inhospitably cold in winter. After extensive renovations had been carried out, with many Stile Liberty touches introduced by the architect Ernesto Basile, the chamber returned to the palace in 1918.

Also on this day: 

1623: The death of writer and statesman Paolo Sarpi

1926: The death of songwriter and sculptor Giambattista De Curtis

1935: The birth of football coach Gigi Radice

1971: The birth of rugby player Paolo Vaccari


19 November 2018

Pino Rauti – politician and journalist

Writer chronicled the story of Fascism in Italy

Pino Rauti was a prominent figure in far-right Italian politics for 64 years
Pino Rauti was a prominent figure in
far-right Italian politics for 64 years
Pino Rauti, leader of the neo-fascist Social Idea Movement, was born Giuseppe Umberto Rauti on this day in 1926 in Cardinale in Calabria.

Rauti was to become a leading figure on the far right of Italian politics from 1948 until his death in 2012.

As a young man he had volunteered for the Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana of Benito Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and he then went on to join the Spanish Foreign Legion.

After his return to Italy, Rauti joined the post-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI). He became associated with Julius Evola, a leading fascist philosopher, and became editor of his journal, Imperium.

Rauti joined the staff of the Rome-based daily Il Tempo in 1953 and later became the Italian correspondent for the Aginter Press, a fake press agency set up in Portugal in 1966 to combat communism.

In 1954 he established his own group within MSI, the Ordine Nuovo, but he became disillusioned with MSI and his group separated from the party two years later.

Rauti worked as a journalist on the
Rome newspaper Il Tempo
Rauti’s name was linked with a number of terror attacks, including the Piazza Fontana bombing. He was brought to trial in 1972 over this atrocity at a Milan bank, which caused 17 deaths, but he was acquitted through lack of evidence.

There were other claims linking him with terrorist activities but he was never convicted of any offences.

Rauti returned to MSI and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1972. In the 1980s, he became a leading figure in the European Parliament.

He went up against Gianfranco Fini for leadership of MSI in 1987 but Fini’s more moderate policies won him the biggest share of the vote.  In 1990, he did replace Fini as leader, but the party’s performance in the next regional elections was the worst in its history and he was removed from the leadership in 1991, with Fini taking charge again.

When Fini founded the Alleanza Nazionale in place of MSI, Rauti led a group of militants to form the Fiamma Tricolore, which he saw as continuing the path of Fascism.

Pino Rauti with Gianfranco Fini (left), whom he replaced as  leader of the MSI party in 1990
Pino Rauti with Gianfranco Fini (left), whom he replaced as
leader of the MSI party in 1990
Rauti stood down as leader in 2002 in favour of Luca Romagnoli, who then sought to work with Silvio Berlusconi’s House of Freedoms coalition. Rauti became a strong critic of Romagnoli and was eventually expelled from the party he had founded.  It was then that he established his own party, the Social Idea Movement.

Between 1966 and 1990, Rauti wrote a number of books about the history of Fascism and the policies of Mussolini.

Rauti died in Rome in November 2012, aged 85.

His daughter, Isabella, who also became a journalist, is now a member of Fratelli Italia, a conservative nationalist party formed by former members of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party. She was elected as Senator for Mantua earlier this year. She is the ex-wife of a former Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno.

A view over the rooftops of Cardinale in Calabria
A view over the rooftops of Cardinale in Calabria
Travel tip:

Cardinale in Calabria, where Pino Rauti was born, is a comune in the province of Catanzaro, the capital city of the region. Cardinale was proved to be a Neolithic site in the 19th century, when work was being carried out to reinforce an old iron bridge and axes made from stone were found, establishing the presence of man there as far back as the stone age. These axes can now be seen in the Archaeological Museum in Crotone.

The Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome, seat of the Chamber of Deputies
The Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome, seat
of the Chamber of Deputies
Travel tip:

The Camera dei Deputati - the Chamber of Deputies -  is one of Italy’s houses of parliament, the other being the Senate of the Republic. The Camera dei Deputati meets at Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome, a palace originally designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and completed by Carlo Fontana in 1697, which is to the north of the Pantheon.

More reading:

How Giorgio Almirante tried to make MSI acceptable in mainstream Italian politics

Fini's move away from Fascism

The Piazza Fontana bombing

Also on this day:

1877: The birth of Giuseppe Volpi, founder of the Venice Film Festival

1893: The birth of Giuseppe Curreri, better known as the boxer Johnny Dundee

1907: The birth of Luigi Beccali, winner of Italy's first track gold at the Olympics


3 January 2017

Gianfranco Fini – politician

Party leader who moved away from Fascism

Gianfranco Fini
Gianfranco Fini
Gianfranco Fini, former leader of the Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance), the post-Fascist political party in Italy, was born on this day in 1952 in Bologna.

Fini has been President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Silvio Berlusconi’s Government from 2001 to 2006.

His father, Argenio ‘Sergio’ Fini, was a volunteer with the Italian Social Republic, a fascist state in Northern Italy allied with Germany between 1943 and 1945.

His maternal grandfather, Antonio Marani, took part in the march on Rome, which signalled the beginning of Italian Fascism in 1922.

Fini’s first name, Gianfranco, was chosen in memory of his cousin, who was killed at the age of 20 by partisans after the liberation of northern Italy on 25 April, 1945.

Fini became interested in politics at the age of 16, after he was involved in a clash with communist activists and he went on to join the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist political party.

After graduating from La Sapienza University in Rome he became involved with the party’s newspaper, Il Secolo d’Italia.

Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
He became MSI party secretary in 1988 and confirmed the MSI’s role as inheritors of Benito Mussolini’s Fascist legacy.

In 1993 Fini ran for Mayor of Rome, and although Francesco Rutelli won, it was the first time an MSI candidate had received significant support in a major election.

In the 1990s, Fini began to move MSI away from its neo-fascist ideology to a more conservative political agenda.

In 1995 the MSI merged with the conservative elements of the disbanded Christian Democrats to form the Alleanza Nazionale. Fini became president of the new party, which distanced itself from fascism.

Fini and his party were part of Berlusconi’s right wing coalition, which won the 1994 and 2001 parliamentary elections. Fini became Deputy Prime Minister in 2001 and Foreign Minister in 2004.

He agreed with Berlusconi that they would present their two parties under the same symbol, the People of Freedom, in the 2008 election.

By then, Fini's attitude towards Mussolini's Fascism had shifted so markedly that, having described the former dictator in 1994 as "the greatest Italian statesman of the 20th century", on a visit to Israel in 2003 he told an audience that Mussolini's time in power had been "a shameful chapter in the history of our people."

Fini and Silvio Berlusconi (right) meet the Italian  president Giorgio Napolitano (left) after the 2001 elections
Fini and Silvio Berlusconi (right) meeting the future Italian
president Giorgio Napolitano (left) after the 2001 elections
After he and Berlusconi were victorious he was elected President (Speaker) of the Chamber of Deputies.

In this role he criticised the Government for their extensive use of confidence votes and for the practice of voting on behalf of absentees,

In the 2013 election, his party, now named Future and Freedom for Italy, were awarded no seats, ending Fini’s 30-year parliamentary career. He has since been criticised by right wing politicians for moving away from traditional policies.

Fini married Daniela di Sotto in 1988 and they had a daughter, Giuliana. After the couple separated in 2007, he met Elisabetta Tulliani, a lawyer, with whom he has since had another two daughters.

Travel tip:

Bologna, where Gianfranco Fini was born, is the largest city and the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It is famous for having the oldest University in the world, established in 1088, and a rich cuisine, which has earned the city the nickname of ‘la grassa’. Its most famous dish is tagliatelle al ragù, strips of pasta with a rich meat sauce, which has been adopted the world over as spaghetti alla bolognese.

Bologna's signature dish, tagliatelle al ragù
Bologna's signature dish, tagliatelle al ragù
Travel tip:

Gianfranco Fini graduated from Rome University, often known simply as La Sapienza, which means ‘the wisdom’.  It can trace its origins back to 1303, when it was opened by Pope Boniface VIII as the first pontifical university. In the 19th century the University broadened its outlook and a new campus was built near the Termini railway station in 1935. Rome University now caters for more than 112,000 students.

More reading:

Benito Mussolini and the founding of the Italian Fascists

Mussolini is captured and executed

Silvio Berlusconi - four times Italian premier

Also on this day:

(Picture credits: Gianfranco Fini by Regola21; tagliatelle by Sergiozif; via Wikimedia Commons)