Italian politics has been in trouble for decades. Now it’s heading for a new low

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09/19/2022

Earlier this month, Alessio Di Giulio, a Florentine councillor with rightwing populist party the League, posted a 17-second video that, to my mind, marks the nadir of what has been one of the most grotesque Italian election campaigns in recent memory. In the clip, Di Giulio strolls through the historic centre of the Tuscan capital when he comes across a woman who appears to be of Roma origin. Stopping in his tracks, the candidate leans into the camera and implores his audience to “vote the League to never see her again”, a phrase he repeats three times for rhetorical effect. Meloni is adept at both courting and distancing herself from such extremists whenever it suits her. Earlier this summer, during a visit to Spain, she delivered a speech to supporters of the far-right Vox party in which she celebrated “patriots” and “the natural family” while attacking “the LGBT lobby” and “enemies of civilisation”.

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