Italy's Meloni, leading in polls, says she is no threat

  • World
  • Thursday, 11 Aug 2022

FILE PHOTO: Leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party Giorgia Meloni waves to the people as she closes her electoral campaign ahead of local elections that will take place at the weekend, in Florence, Italy, September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni recorded a video message in three languages on Wednesday to reassure Italy's partners a right-wing government led by her would not threaten financial stability and would stick to Rome's traditional alliances.

Italy's conservative bloc, which also includes Matteo Salvini's League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, is well placed to win an outright majority at an election scheduled for Sept. 25, according to a study on Tuesday.

Meloni tops the polls and looks on track to become prime minister. However, some analysts have cast doubt over her suitability for the role because her party traces its roots back to a post-fascist movement.

Meloni dismissed as "nonsense" claims that she would head an authoritarian government, saying such views are "inspired by the powerful media circuit of the left." She did not elaborate.

"The Italian right has handed fascism over to history for decades now, unambiguously condemning the suppression of democracy and the ignominious anti-Jewish laws," she said in a video message sent to foreign media in English, French and Spanish.

"We fiercely oppose any anti-democratic drift with words of firmness that we do not always find in the Italian and European left," she added.

Meloni underlined her party's commitment to the West and her condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a thorny issue for the conservative bloc due to the historically close ties of Salvini and Berlusconi with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Meloni - who often attacks Brussels "bureaucrats" and whose party has been labelled eurosceptic by many analysts - denied any plans to quit the euro and pledged not to jeopardise Rome's roadmap to obtain billions in post-pandemic EU funds.

Meloni, who was the main opposition to Mario Draghi's "national unity" government, said the Recovery Plan drawn up by Draghi could be improved on, and that its failings were due to his quarrelsome coalition.

"That is why Italy needs a united and clear-minded government that will not only avoid wasting a euro of this money but also foster investments and growth in our country," Meloni said.

($1 = 0.9704 euros)

(editing by Gavin Jones and Deepa Babington)

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