US Republicans celebrate Italy's most right-wing government since Mussolini

Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party has neo-fascist roots

Far-right party Brothers of Italy's leader Giorgia Meloni shows a placard reading in Italian, 'Thank you Italy' at her party's electoral headquarters in Rome. AP
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Far-right American politicians on Monday were quick to congratulate Italy's presumed new prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, following her Eurosceptic populist party's electoral victory at the weekend. US President Joe Biden's administration was, however, more circumspect.

Ms Meloni's Brothers of Italy party, which has neo-fascist roots, looked set to win 26 per cent in Sunday's election, while her wider coalition secured a clear majority in the Italian Parliament.

The results are likely to give Italy its first far-right government since the Second World War and make the 45-year-old Ms Meloni the country's first woman prime minister.

Extreme-right figures in the Republican Party were jubilant following Ms Meloni's win.

Congresswomen Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene — who have been affiliated with QAnon conspiracy theories, Islamophobia and anti-democratic pushes to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election — were among them.

Ms Boebert said far-right victories in Sweden and Italy demonstrate that “the entire world is beginning to understand that the Woke Left does nothing but destroy”, while highlighting the critical US midterm elections coming in November as the time to “let freedom reign”.

Ms Taylor Greene also tweeted her congratulations.

The White House did not immediately present any reaction to the results but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meanwhile said Washington was “eager to work with Italy's government on our shared goals: supporting a free and independent Ukraine, respecting human rights and building a sustainable economic future”.

“Italy is a vital ally, strong democracy and valued partner,” he added.

Ms Meloni gave a raucous speech to Spain's far-right Vox party earlier this year, during which she highlighted key elements of her platform.

“Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology … no to Islamist violence, yes to secure borders, no to mass migration … no to big international finance … no to the bureaucrats of Brussels!”

But Ms Meloni, who as a teen praised dictator Benito Mussolini, has attempted to distance herself from her party's neo-fascist past and reshaped her image into one of a straight-talker.

She has voiced support for Ukraine and dialled back her anti-European Union rhetoric.

Mr Blinken's predecessor Mike Pompeo, who served under former president Donald Trump, also chimed in with congratulatory statements on Twitter.

Tom Cotton, a Republican representative from the US state of Arkansas who backed Trump-era immigration restrictions, extended his congratulations to Ms Meloni and all winners in Italy's election cycle.

“We look forward to working with her and other Italian leaders to advance our shared interests,” Mr Cotton tweeted.

Updated: September 26, 2022, 5:36 PM
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