Mattia Ferraresi

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Italy’s Prime Minister Broke Up With Her Boyfriend. It’s Actually Quite a Big Deal.

Giorgia Meloni broke the glass ceiling again. After becoming the first woman and the first post-fascist leader to be prime minister of Italy, she recently became the first head of government to announce on social media that she had dumped her boyfriend.

“My relationship with Andrea Giambruno, which lasted nearly 10 years, ends here”, she wrote in October on X, formerly known as Twitter, informing the country that the couple had been drifting apart and it was time to call it a day. “I have nothing more to say on this”, she concluded.

But that wasn’t really true. She did have more to say.…  Seguir leyendo »

Adiós al hombre que nos dio a Trump

El magnate transformado en político pasó su carrera mezclando entretenimiento y poder, escapando de escándalos sexuales y remodelando a su partido a su imagen plastificada. Dijo que le robaron unas elecciones que perdió. Las autoridades investigaron sus negocios y nunca dejó de elogiar a su amigo de toda la vida Vladimir Putin. Sus adversarios, en su lucha por derrotarlo en la política, recurrieron a los fiscales para vencerlo en los tribunales. Pero él se las arregló para que hasta eso lo beneficiara, invocando el fantasma de la persecución política para revitalizar a su electorado y mantenerse firme en el centro de la política de su país por años.…  Seguir leyendo »

Credit...Illustration by Sam Whitney/The New York Times

The tycoon-turned-politician spent his career mixing entertainment and power, escaping sex scandals and remodeling his party in his own plasticized image. He claimed elections he lost were actually stolen from him. Law enforcement scrutinized his businesses and he incessantly praised his longtime friend Vladimir Putin. Struggling to beat him politically, opponents relied on prosecutors to oust him through the courts. But he managed to turn even that to his favor, raising the specter of political persecution to re-energize his electorate and remain firmly at the center of his country’s politics for years.

That sounds a lot like Donald Trump. But it’s actually Silvio Berlusconi, who died on Monday at the age of 86.…  Seguir leyendo »

A rally organized by the major right-wing parties, in Rome this month. Franco Origlia/Getty Images

It happened here, again. Nearly 100 years since the March on Rome, Italy on Sunday voted in a right-wing coalition headed by a party directly descended from Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime.

This is, to put it mildly, concerning. Yet the most pervasive worry is not that Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party will reinstitute fascism in Italy — whatever that would mean. It’s that a government led by her will transform Italy into an “electoral autocracy”, along the lines of Viktor Orban’s Hungary. During the campaign, the center-left Democratic Party — Brothers of Italy’s main opponent — obsessively invoked Hungary as Italy’s destiny under Ms.…  Seguir leyendo »

Italy is going through an exciting time. The country, which was brutally battered by covid-19 in 2020, has been praised as a model in handling the crisis in 2021. Its economy is now growing faster than Germany and at about the same pace of France. Its national soccer team won the European Championship, its athletes overperformed in the Olympics, an Italian rock band won the Eurovision Song Contest, and Italian physicist Giorgio Parisi was awarded the Nobel Prize. Last week, the Economist selected Italy as its country of the year for being the “most improved” nation in 2021.

In some respects, there is reason for optimism.…  Seguir leyendo »

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi speaks during a news conference in Rome on April 16. (Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg)

Italians did not just expect Mario Draghi to lead the government — they wanted him to save the country.

In February, when the former European Central Bank head was selected as prime minister of Italy, people hoped he would leverage his legendary reputation to accelerate a slowly rolling vaccination plan, mitigate the economic downturn, negotiate with the European Union on the recovery package from a position of strength and reform one of the most tenaciously irreformable political systems around.

But great expectations often lead to great disappointments. In little more than two months, Draghi seems to have lost momentum, failing to capitalize on the rare spirit of national unity that surrounded his nomination.…  Seguir leyendo »

A banner reading “Salvini get out of Genoa” during an anti-fascist and anti-racist demonstration against Matteo Salvini in Genoa, Italy, in April. Credit Simone Arveda/EPA, via Shutterstock

There’s a number of things any savvy politician who cares about liberal democracy should avoid: feeding the idea that the popular will is generally disregarded and political power is managed by unelected elites in smoked-filled rooms; forming politically incoherent alliances with the sole purpose of excluding populists; and fueling the perception that the most important decisions of a country are taken outside of its borders.

Italy’s political class is utterly disregarding all this. To oust illiberal demagogues from power, its mainstream parties are resorting to the same tactics and management styles that allowed populism to flourish, planting the seeds for its return.…  Seguir leyendo »

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of Italy on the Italian talk show “Porta a Porta” in Rome last year, while a picture of Pope Francis was projected in the background. Credit Andreas Solaro/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On paper, Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, is a dubious poster child for Catholicism. Mr. Salvini is divorced. He has two children by two women and is in a relationship with a third. But that hasn’t stopped him from reinventing himself as Italy’s Catholic-in-chief. “I am the last of the good Christians”, Mr. Salvini, 46, said recently, during an appearance on the popular TV show “Non è l’Arena”. “I defend our history and the existence of Catholic schools”, he said during the same appearance. “If I believe in God”, he asked rhetorically, “and if I even ask for Mary’s protection, does that bother anybody?”…  Seguir leyendo »