Government, Giorgia Meloni: a year as a marathon runner at Palazzo Chigi

The Prime Minister is aiming for the end of the legislature and announces phase two on migrant dossiers, a thorn in the side of her executive

A year as a “marathon runner”, as she defined herself last summer, talking about herself and the adventure she experienced at Palazzo Chigi, the first woman to lead the country. The Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni makes an important turning point, going from a tenacious ‘underdog’ in 10 years from 2% of the votes to 26% of the votes a year ago, on 25 September 2022. A result achieved by also ‘cannibalizing’ the electoral base of the allies , and which led her to the helm of a government born from a well-established, but no less troubled, coalition. The gestation that led to its birth speaks volumes. The formation of the government in fact takes place in record time, less than a month, but this does not make it any less difficult.

The uphill start

The usual tug of war between the majority forces for the distribution of ‘seats’ is shaken by a ‘stolen’ audio during Silvio Berlusconi’s assembly with the Forza Italia groups: the reading and the story of the Italian leader of the international crisis – from the rapprochement with Vladimir Putin to the judgment on the Ukrainian president up to the analysis of the origins of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev – undermine the embryonic phase of the government, to the point of putting its very birth at risk. Meloni keeps a cool head and launches the either/or: “Atlantisti or the executive will not see the light”, he makes it clear. A line that he will remain faithful to in this first year, without hesitation or mistakes.

Support for Ukraine and good relations with the EU

In fact, the route traced by Meloni passes from convinced support for Ukraine to a confidential relationship with Joe Biden and a solid one with Ursula Von der Leyenbecause the first objective of the prime minister – who not surprisingly chooses Brussels for her first mission abroad, a clear message of reassurance aimed at those who accused the government of anti-Europeanism – is to gain credibility abroad, distancing itself from image of a post-fascist leader as well as of those who are against Europe.

The relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron is more complex, with which she is on a collision course over the migrant emergency, the workhorse of her electoral campaign and now a thorn in the side of the government: “The results are not what we hoped to see”, admitted the prime minister herself in an interview on yesterday on Tg1, announcing a “phase two” and still saying she was confident: “We’ll get to the bottom of it”. Also because Meloni aims to reach the end of the legislature with her government: “The balance on me? Only in 5 years”, she likes to repeat, remembering that the one at Palazzo Chigi is a “marathon and not a sprinters’ challenge”.

Unknown maneuvers and limited resources

The migrant emergency is a very tough game for Meloni, also played on the table of the United Nations General Assembly, where he invited the UN “not to look the other way”, ‘calling’ it to “global war and without discounts to human traffickers”. In her speech in the imposing gold and blue room of the Glass Palace in New York, the Prime Minister claimed the role of an Italy that “sets an example”, with the Mattei Plan for Africa with which the Prime Minister – often on missions abroad with his daughter Ginevra at his side – is strengthening relations with the South of the world, trying to stem the migration phenomenon with a cooperative and “non-predatory” approach.

A strategy that requires time and patience, while the party of its main ally, Matteo Salvini, hits hard on the issue, recalling the League leader’s time at the Interior Ministry and winking at the Fdi electorate.

But this is not the only unknown that weighs on the prime minister’s future, grappling with a maneuver that relies on limited resources and responses expected from the electorate, while the British Financial Times writes of a “honeymoon between markets and melons over”, fueling the fears that agitate Palazzo Chigi. A complex year behind us, in which the most worrying fault is perhaps linked to the death of Berlusconi, with all the fears surrounding the medium-long term survival of Forza Italia.

The difficult exit from the Silk Road

On the national and international chessboard Meloni will have to move the pawns with extreme care, starting from the move that awaits him on the Silk Road, with a farewell to the Memorandum which is not yet official but has been in the air for some time, and the European match which risks bringing an already hot climate to boil.

It is increasingly complicated for the Prime Minister to remain faithful to that image of an underdog that allowed her to overturn the predictions, conquer the electorate and cross the finish line, in defiance of those who considered her a loser at the starting line. After a year at Palazzo Chigi it is clear that this is the greatest challenge that awaits him.