89 Connect Forums Civil Society Is Italy's public opinion shifting towards pro-autoritarianism?

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    • #2298
      Riccardo VenturiRiccardo Venturi
      752 Points

      As an Italian myself, I’ve been following in these last few days the news with particular concern. Three episodes passed under the radar of the international press, especially compared to the scandal of the alleged Russian money given to the government League party, are showing how some members of the Italian government and in particular the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, are probably conducing a stress test on the Italian public opinion.

      First, following the murder of a Carabiniere (a member of the namesake national police force Carabinieri) led to the confession and to the arrest of two American expats living in Rome. The picture of one of the two detainees blindfolded at the police station (contrarily to any norm of conduct of a stable liberal democracy), has begun to circulate on social media. Has this picture been posted by a brave Carabiniere to report the happening or is this a way to show a strength which goes beyond the law?

      The second episode regards Matteo Salvini in person and his son, who were having a day-off on the beach in Milano Marittina. Here, the Minister asked some policeman to let his son try their police boat. As a journalist of La Repubblica started filming, a self-identified policeman with no badge and in swimsuit, approached him and tried to stop the video, threatening him and checking his credentials.

      Finally. today’s statement by Salvini is maybe the most serious question, as during an interview he called a Roma minority woman who supposedly threatened him with a bullet, a “zingaraccia”, which literally translated is a racist pejorative of “gipsy”. All this came from one of the most important institutional positions in a few days.

      Reations to these episodes have been very week, as only part of the population seem to get to what point Salvini is trying to get the country, while thousands of users defend him regardless, showing that this man could potentially do anything without losing electoral support.

      How worrying are all these signs and to what extent are other Europeans aware of what is happening in Italy? Is Italy the first western European country and founding EU member whose public opinion is actually taking a step beyond and concretely shifting the country towards a Putin-like or an Orban-like form of government? Is this the prelude of what could happen to the rest of Europe?

    • #2319
      Robert CrestRobert Crest
      832 Points

      I agree with your concern, Riccardo, starting from well before the facts you listed. Just think that Matteo Salvini came in power despite the corruption scandal in 2012 involving the League’s previous leader Umberto Bossi and € 49 million.

      However, right-wing authoritarian politicians are gaining votes in the European elections, reflecting the wave of skepticism in the EU against establishment parties. These authoritarian right parties share a rhetoric of ending corruption; fighting elite interests; retrieving national dignity; defending the rights of ordinary people.

      Of course, we need to take into account the differences between the situations of the various countries and voters behaviour. Perhaps this “personalisation” of power could not be tolerated elsewhere but in Italy.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by Robert Crest.
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