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ITALIAN ELECTIONS

Polish PM hails far-right’s ‘great victory’ in Italian elections

Poland's prime minister hailed on Monday the Italian far-right's "great victory" after Giorgia Meloni's far-right Brothers of Italy came out on top in the country’s general elections.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addresses French employers' association Medef Summer Conference, La REF 2022, at the Hippodrome de Longchamp racetrack in Paris on August 29, 2022.
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki congratulated Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni for her ‘great victory’ in Sunday’s elections. Photo by Eric PIERMONT / AFP

Hard-right Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and members of his cabinet congratulated Giorgia Meloni on winning Italy’s elections, saying that the EU would be “stronger” because of it.

“Great victory! Congratulations!” Morawiecki said on Facebook, using emojis to say that the two countries would be strong together.

READ ALSO: Italian elections LIVE: Victorious far-right Meloni vows ‘to govern for all Italians’

Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party and the Brothers of Italy are both part of the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR).

“I’m glad that a party from the ECR group is assuming responsibility for yet another European nation,” tweeted PiS member and former premier Beata Szydlo.

Other Polish governing politicians highlighted the overlap between the two parties, including their emphasis on Catholic family values.

“The EU right is growing stronger…We will defeat the communists, leftism and the LGBT lobby – everyone who is ruining our civilisation,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Janusz Kowalski said on Twitter.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Is Brothers of Italy a ‘far right’ party?

Deputy Justice Minister Michal Wojcik said Meloni’s victory was a “defeat” for European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, calling the EU chief a “representative of anti-democratic forces in the EU”.

On Sunday, Hungary’s far-right prime minister Victor Orban also sent a message of congratulations to Giorgia Meloni via his political director Balazs Orban.

Leader of Italian far-right party "Fratelli d'Italia" (Brothers of Italy), Giorgia Meloni acknowledges the audience after she delivered an address at her party's campaign headquarters overnight on September 26, 2022 in Rome, after the country voted in a legislative election.

Giorgia Meloni’s victory in Sunday’s elections was also praised by controversial, hard-right Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

“In these difficult times, we need more than ever friends who share a common vision and approach to Europe’s challenges,” he said.

READ ALSO: ‘Squalid threats’: Italy’s Salvini hits out at EU chief over election comment

Much like Poland, Hungary will likely gain a major boost from having an ally in Italy, which is a member of G7 and Nato.

According to projections, around one in four voters in Sunday’s election backed Brothers of Italy, which has neo-fascist roots and which leads a coalition set to win a majority in parliament.

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POLITICS

Italy’s government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

Italy's new government issued a decree on Thursday to continue sending weapons to Ukraine through 2023, continuing the previous administration's policy of support to Kyiv.

Italy's government to continue sending weapons to Ukraine in 2023

The decree extends to December 31, 2023 an existing authorisation for “the transfer of military means, materials and equipment to the government authorities of Ukraine,” according to a government statement.

Since taking office in October, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has repeatedly voiced her support for Kyiv while underlying the importance of the Atlantic alliance.

In her first speech to parliament, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party pledged to “continue to be a reliable partner of NATO in supporting Ukraine.”

Her predecessor Mario Draghi was a staunch supporter of Kyiv, but the issue of sending arms to Ukraine split the biggest party in parliament during his coalition government, the Five Star Movement.

That friction led to the early elections that brought Meloni to power.

Parliament now has 60 days to vote the decree into law.

READ ALSO: Outcry in Italy after Berlusconi defends Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Despite Meloni’s efforts to reassure her Western allies of Italy’s support for the EU’s and NATO’s Ukraine strategy, including sanctions on Russia, the close ties to Russia of her two coalition partners have come under scrutiny.

Both Matteo Salvini of the League party and former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who leads Forza Italia, have long enjoyed warm relations with Russia.

In October, an audio tape of Berlusconi was leaked to the media in which the former premier described how he had received a birthday present of vodka from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the tape, he also expressed concerns about sending weapons and cash to Kyiv and appeared to blame the war on Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Berlusconi later issued a statement saying his personal position on Ukraine “does not deviate” from that of Italy and the EU.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Salvini, too, has come under fire for his relations with Moscow, including a report that he dined with Russia’s ambassador to Rome just days after that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Salvini, who has criticised EU sanctions as ineffective, has long admired Putin, even wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the Russian leader’s face.

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