Italy’s historic vote

On the 25th of this month we went to the polling stations in Italy and cast our vote for the Prime Minister and Senate. Meloni was widely forecast to win the PM’s seat, which she did, landing her as the first female PM in Italian history. It was a great day for women in politics. And just who is Giorgia Meloni, for those who don’t follow Italian politics? Well, to hear the Western liberal press, she is the leader of a far-right, neo-fascist party, making her the most far-right prime minister since Mussolini. Fascism is returning to Italy! – or so the press would have us believe. What is the truth? We’ll start to unpack that a little here, along with a brief look at Meloni.

Yes, the liberal press – outfits like The Guardian, New York Times, Reuters, Washington Post, has already started with seeking to cast Giorgia (pronounced like ‘Georgia’, the state or nation) Meloni in a poor light. We have headlines like, the most radical government since Mussolini (Guardian), Italy on course for far-right government (the WaPo was actually more nuanced than expected), a leader with post-fascist roots (NYT) – is already sounding the warning bells for Europe, stoking fears of a far-right, neo-fascist wave across Europe. Recent elections in Europe have seen Sweden narrowly elect a right-wing coalition, the UK Conservative Party appointing Truss as their poseur far-right PM (more on that in another post), Victor Orban in Hungary stirring the EU pot, and so on.

The Wall Street Journal calls Meloni “an untested leader”. And on cue, those outlets also have to include that Meloni confronts an economic crisis provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the Financial Times quipping that stopping the war is the only way to avert the economic crisis. It is a false narrative, which we will address a little later in this piece. That economic crisis is one of the biggest reasons Meloni was elected, but it has little to do with Russia.

The conservative press, unsurprisingly, is more sparing of Meloni. Breitbart headlines that “Italians Vote in Election that May Overturn EU Order”, calling her coalition a “right-populist coalition”. Fox News simply calls the coalition ‘right wing’. Further down in that piece they roll out the far-right and neo-fascist meme. But even in the right-wing press, “the most right-wing leader since Mussolini” trends.

As an aside and for Americans, who likely wouldn’t know, Mussolini is still here, in the guise of his granddaughter, Alessandra. She was once a member of Parliament, but she is best-known now for having landed a post and competing in Ballando con le Stelle, the Italian version of Dancing With the Stars. But we digress.

Basically, no one really knows at this point how the Meloni coalition and its policies will pan out. That is as much as anyone can rightly say right now, because Meloni and her coalition have yet to form government. That will happen over the next month, if it happens (which it most likely will). What we hear out of the press instead amounts to fearmongering – baloney about Meloni. If a week is an eternity on politics, anything can happen over the next days. The Meloni coalition faces some very serious issues. At this point we should have a look at her astrology, because what would be needed in such a case is a leader who can stand her ground and get things done.

Giorgia Meloni’s chart is below (bigger):

Her birth time is from memory. The immediate thing that stands out in the chart is the combination of the ‘Big Three’ – Sun, Moon and Ascendant. With Meloni we have Capricorn Sun, Sagittarius Moon and Leo Ascendant. A cursory look at events in her life appears to confirm the rising sign and degree. We will leave that analysis for this post. That said, this is an executive combination of factors. From here, things get rather interesting, and we will only address the more important factors relating to politics.

The general character one sees with this combination is one of ambition, wide interests, a love of travel, a keen sense of values (whether or not one agrees with them) and discrimination – a force in her sphere of influence. It also describes a person of strong opinions, likes and dislikes, and reasons for all of them. She is intellectual rather than romantic. It is not a combination that suffers fools. She likes a good mental challenge and must have intellectual equals around her – a tall order, to be addressed shortly. She has some of the markings of mechanical genius if she were to choose that path, but instead she has chosen politics. It is the type of personality that will choose facts over sentiments every time, analyses over guesswork, though she has the capacity for the latter, too. As an aside and a personal one at that, she collects angels, of all types and materials, reflecting her Catholicism.

With her Sun trine Jupiter she was always bound to be a person of influence and authority, given the preceding combination. Adding to the strength, luck and influence is the Saturn/Uranus square, giving her independence and at times, quarrelsomeness, along with a steely magnetism. Saturn is retrograde in the chart, showing ‘father issues’, as in a father who is somehow absent (whom she hasn’t seen since she was 12 and she declares to be a dead relationship, with transiting Pluto square to natal Saturn and directed Mars square the Meridian axis, among other factors at the time), so family stability became an important issue for her.

But when it comes to rough-and-tumble politics, the following combinations shine out in Meloni’s chart: Mercury/Mars conjunction in Capricorn and Mars square Eris, coupled with the Saturn/Uranus square – she is not a person to back down in a debate, and in fact loves a good fight. She is a warrior woman. This is important going forward.

Meloni is not a person to be trifled with. She will stand her ground, which is why Italians voted for her, because she will stand up for Italy, too – so she says. She also knows her business, having been described as ‘precise and prepared’ (translate from Italian), indicated by the Mercury/Mars conjunction, also sextile to Uranus (further increasing her independence and fearlessness). And the 1st house Saturn lends a serious, sometimes dour note to her nature.

Brussels has an able opponent in Meloni if she chooses to go up against them. And of herself she has said (again, translate) she is moody, she angers easily, cries, says foul words, but knows how to control herself. In public she comes across as very self-controlled. But one can still see the hair-trigger when she doesn’t agree with something.

If all this sounds like an effort to paint a positive picture of Meloni, these are indeed desirable qualities in a leader, because one wants a person in her position to be able to actually lead instead of being a puppet. Meloni is quite a contrast from someone like Liz Truss, for example, the latter coming across more like a deer in the headlights. It is also to show that if Brussels is worried about Meloni, they should be. She will argue for Italy instead of toeing Brussels’ line. Or will she? This is something worth parsing and is important for Italians to know.

Much has been made of Meloni being a Eurosceptic, having stated in the past that Italy should leave the EU. Now she says she wants to change the nature of the EU, but not leave the Union. In other words, she would defend the nation’s interests without disrupting the EU. Also much has been made about her views on abortion and LGBT issues, as well as civil rights. Is any of that about to drastically change? Probably not. The big worry before this government will be Italy’s economy and it is likely to take up all of their time.

Meloni campaigned on a platform of “Pronti a risollevare l’Italia” (“Ready to revive Italy”). There are two parts to the motto – sovereignty and economy. Italy has been in the economic doldrums, as has much of the West, for decades. Especially since the 2008 financial crisis Italy has suffered more than most EU countries, having been named pejoratively as one of the PIIGS nations. The acronym is clear enough. The Northern European nations have little respect for Italy, see the PIIGS nations as being on the order of feeding from the EU trough and see Italy’s financial policies as being irresponsible. And those northern nations hold a large sway over the policies of the ECB.

Meloni’s Ascendant and Moon fit with the synthetic Leo and Sagittarius of the Italian people. She has struck a chord with the voters. The hope of the vote is that Meloni will be able to stand up to Brussels and find relief for struggling Italians. Instead, the Western press harps on about the neo-fascist past of Meloni’s associations. It is a measure of the discomfort the Western establishment feels about her being elected. People should not be mistaken, though: The vote on Sunday was not a vote for fascism. It was a vote for change and a reaction against:

In addition to the preceding, have a listen also to this video:

Ursula’s comments left a bad taste for Italians. The hubris was appalling, as if Italians were a bunch of children needing discipline if they made ‘the wrong choice’, i.e., electing a right wing government. If von der Leyen wanted to ensure Meloni was elected, she did a good job.

Continuing with our bullet points, the vote was also against:

  • The erosion of culture: Perceived to be due to woke culture and the waves of immigrants who have swept across Spain, Italy and Greece in recent years, like 2015 for instance. Yes, there is racism in that, too. But it doesn’t answer the fundamental question as to why there would have been such waves of immigrants. Poverty, war and austerity in Africa and West Asia are major factors in that, but it is outside the scope of this post to address it. Schengen (open borders in the EU) have played a big role in that, too.
  • Woke politics: Until recently Italy was primarily monocultural, having experienced periods of large emigration due to poverty and austerity. Immigration was the exception rather than the rule. The EU changed all that. There is a video circulating on Twitter now showing her in full flight regarding family values and so forth, reflecting the Mercury/Mars conjunction.

So, is fascism returning to Italy? Is Meloni the next Mussolini? For those readers who may be wringing their hands over the possibility, take a deep breath – breathe – and consider the following:

To be able to unilaterally change government policy on any matter the sitting Italian government must have a super-majority (2/3) in the Italian Parliament. Meloni’s coalition is not even close to that. At most the FdI holds 30% of seats. The coalition in toto has 59%. The last PM to govern Italy under a single party was Fanfani in 1987 with the Christian Democrats (center-left). All Italian governments since then have been coalitions.

The Italian elites are largely aligned with the Christian Democrats (DC). The DC split after 1994 into numerous other parties, but they still form a sort of bloc in Italian politics. Those parties are largely pro-EU. Meloni will face opposition from them of she tries to buck the system too hard. They, too, have ‘tools’ at their disposal should governments decide they want to leave the EU or oppose the Eurozone (the economic bloc based in the Euro).

Italy’s debt is now at 147% to GDP. To reduce that under current constraints requires the Covid recovery aid package from the EU planned for Italy. Meloni cannot afford to muddy those waters, at least not now. She must secure that package. And that means she will not be able to rattle the crowd in Brussels too much. That is one of the main tools von der Leyen was hinting at.

Then there is the present conflict in Ukraine to consider. Meloni has said she supports the West’s efforts toward Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia. Her cohorts in the coalition have been supportive of Putin on the other hand. Italians typically have had good relations with Russia, relating largely to business ties and tourism. That has been problematic for the US, with the situation being clear now that Washington and the UK especially want to see Russia defeated and broken up. We might suppose that Meloni has had to toe a certain line regarding her statements about Ukraine. There is a precedent for her to be cautious.

Meloni has strong ties to Washington. She is a member of the Aspen Institute, an establishment Washington think tank, having joined in 2020. She is an avowed Atlanticist and is hawkish on Russia and China. She supported Juan Guaidò when Washington was trying to overthrow Maduro in Venezuela. In short, me might say she is against globalization, but she is pro-imperialist. She has done strategy with Steve Bannon. But before anyone might start to compare her with Trump, Meloni is more along the lines of a Rick DeSantis. In the coalition, Berlusconi was Trump before Trump.

Here is the kicker, though: three out of four Italians didn’t vote for Meloni, and one in three didn’t vote at all. That equates to just under 20% of the voting public voting for Meloni. That hardly defines a mandate for governing Italy, much less representing the average Italian. It signifies instead an electorate who will turn on her quickly if she doesn’t deliver. So, before anyone gets all excited – one way or the other – about Italy returning to fascism, we are a long way from that here. One should be more concerned with her cozying up to Washington and the religious conservatism of the Republican Party. She also attended the Washington prayer breakfast in 2020.

Whereas this is a historic day for women in politics in Italy, Meloni faces serious challenges as soon as she enters office. First she has to name a cabinet, agreeing with her partners – no easy task. Then it has to pass muster with the President, Mattarella, the latter being a Europhile. It is not going to be an easy ride for her. She will not be able to mandate policy and negotiations will be tough. She is up for that, but the times are hard and the clock is ticking away. Winter is coming and it has already turned cool here.

The following factors will be the major challenges facing Meloni:

  • Internal divisions within the coalition, especially the egos of her coalition partners.
  • The volatile and very fluid (as in fickle) voting public
  • Old Man Winter and energy prices. If she fails to bring immediate financial relief to families and businesses her term as PM will be short.
  • Her opposition to dropping the sanctions on Russia and her support of NATO. In that, she is hedging her bets against the Italian elite, who want to see the pressure (they think) on Russia continuing. It is a dead end politically, to support those sanctions and disastrous for Italy. Ideals don’t translate to heat in the house and food on the table, nor does suffering to support the corrupt regime in Ukraine.
  • Inflation and recession
  • Her youth, even though she has been in the halls of power for over a decade.

And there is one last warning for her, astrologically – beware of false friends. She has a Venus/Neptune square, which makes for betrayal by people close to one when negatively expressed. If things go south for the government, Meloni could well embody a figurative repeat of Caesar’s demise, the latter at the hands of his associates. These next years ahead are going to be very interesting and engaging times for political watchers and pundits.

After having done all the analysis and considering the points made in this post, fascism in any form or state has no place in today’s world. We have fought terrible wars against fascism and we see one in progress now against the fascists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, fascism the West has supported, funded and fights alongside. We have covered that in other posts. Meloni’s support for that, as she has stated her support for Ukraine herself, is to be denounced.

However, considering also the support for her among the Italian electorate is actually small, the other side of the coin is that claims of Italy having elected a fascist government are misplaced in reality. Meloni was elected due to voter apathy, a fragmented political left that couldn’t get its act together and economic austerity, which is the prime breeding ground for fascism.

Don’t worry about Meloni and fascism, or about her views on racism or gender issues. Winter and ideologues like the German Greens will do far more to wreck European unity than Meloni could ever hope to do. Sunday was a historic day for Italy, in that a woman now leads Italian government. But otherwise, expect government in Italy to be business as usual. Tied to Washington, Meloni is not going to save Italy.

Featured pic from BBC

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