A former left-wing Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, is pushing back against media outlets in the United States and around the world that are associating incoming Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni with Benito Mussolini and fascism, calling her and the populist movement behind her a “danger to democracy.”
Renzi told CNN “the idea that now there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news.”
“Personally, I was against Giorgia Meloni. I’m not her best friend,” Renzi explained. “We grew up together in politics, but we are, and will be, rivals, always.”
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Renzi, Italy’s prime minister from 2013 to 2016, emphasized that Meloni “is not a danger to Italian democracy.”
“She is my rival, and we will continue to fight each other, but the idea that now there is a risk of fascism in Italy is absolutely fake news,” he said.
As WND reported Monday, the “CBS Evening News” account on Twitter claimed Meloni “leads a neo-fascist movement, reminiscent of Benito Mussolini’s own party.” And a CNN.com headline said, “Giorgia Meloni claims victory to become Italy’s most far-right prime minister since Mussolini.”
Meloni’s platform is summarized in a 2019 speech to the World Congress of Families in which she asked rhetorically why “the family” has become “an enemy” and “so frightening” to the left.
“I can’t define myself as Italian, Christian, woman, mother. No. I must be citizen x, gender x, parent 1, parent 2,” she said. “I must be a number, because when I am only a number, when I no longer have an identity or roots, then I will be the perfect slave at the mercy of financial speculators. The perfect consumer.”
Renzi, in the CNN interview, attributed Meloni’s victory largely to the fact that populism in Italy often wins.
Democracy, he reiterated, certainly is not at risk.
“That is very important because I fought against her, but at the same time, I think there is not a danger [of] fascism in Italy,” Renzi said.
The former Italian prime minister distinguished himself from Meloni, a “sovereigntist,” while he supports the European Union.