A landslide center-right victory is imminent in the Italian elections, and the “democratic forces” are helped by the same American foundation that considers Hungary a “battleground state.”
After the campaign for the Hungarian parliamentary elections in April, the American foundation Action for Democracy has also entered Italian politics.
According to its website, the foundation considers Hungary, Italy, Brazil, Turkey, and Poland “key battleground states.” “Key battleground states are places in the world where we think democracy is most threatened and where there are elections to take place within the next year that will determine the fate of those democracies,” it explains.
With the Italian elections on September 25, Action for Democracy moved its focus to Rome. According to the latest polls, the center right coalition (Fratelli d’Italia, Lega and Forza Italia) is set to receive around 45 percent of the votes. “With a landslide election victory, the right-wing would have enough support in Parliament to change the Italian Constitution without a public referendum. As a result, basic civil rights could be jeopardized,” the foundation warns.
”We have already seen what happened in Brazil, Hungary, and the United States when civil movements were overwhelmed by a wave of hatred. We must unite to prevent the same from happening in Italy,” it adds.
Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán have good relations with all leaders of the center-right coalition, including the President of the Fratelli d’Italia, Giorgia Meloni. Hungarian policies have been frequently discussed in the election campaign.
According to its website, Action for Democracy “helps civic organizations and initiatives find support from the citizenry to make meaningful, accelerated and long-term changes in society. Signatures on petitions, ideas, and voluntary donations are what each of us can give to these realities to shape a better Italy.”
Public data cited by Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet show that the American foundation is financing at least five Italian NGOs, “all of them connected to the left side.” “Among the organizations on the list of grantees, the most interesting is Progressive Acts, a Brussels-based organization that uses advanced technological services to carry out political mobilization, from fundraising to petitions and newsletter marketing, i.e. organizing and managing the campaigns of parties and politicians in the digital space. The organization works only on the campaigns of the candidates of the largest left-wing Italian party, the Democratic Party (PD). Moreover, they only help politicians running in the so-called battleground constituencies, as their results will determine the outcome of the elections,” according to Magyar Nemzet.
Action for Democracy is led by prominent critics of the Hungarian government and conservative forces in general, among others Hungarian-born American writer and activist for progressive causes Kati Marton, British historian Timothy Garton Ash, American historian Anne Applebaum, American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, Former British Foreign Secretary David Milliband, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley K. Clark.
Last month, Péter Márki-Zay, the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely (southeast Hungary), and former prime ministerial candidate of the joint opposition coalition in the parliamentary elections, made some remarks about his campaign funding and US connections, raising eyebrows in the Hungarian media and public discourse. He claimed that as recently as July of this year, two months after the elections, his campaign received several million HUF “from America.” Márki-Zay said that the donations came from Action for Democracy, which was created in February 2022, just before the Hungarian elections.
In a statement, Action for Democracy rejected “any accusations of foreign interference in (the Hungarian) elections.” “Our support is dedicated to democratic values, participation in elections and the fairness of elections. In our target countries, we support organizations that are at the forefront of the fight for democracy, regardless of party or election,” their statement reads.
Featured photo via Miniszterelnök.hu