Early opinion polls suggest Italy will be led by the largest far-right government since the fascist era of Benito Mussolini.
A coalition of far-right parties led by Giorgia Meloni, Brothers of Italy The party – which traces its origins to post-war fascism – was on track to win between 41 and 45% of the vote in Sunday’s general election, according to data from Pipoli, a pollster.
Italy’s ultra-conservative Brotherhood party appears likely to win 22-26% of the vote, with its coalition partners, the League, led by Matteo Salvini, with 8.5-12.5% and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, who scored between 6-and 8% of the vote. vote.
As the leader of the far-right coalition, Meloni is now set to become Italy’s first female prime minister. Final results are expected as early as Monday.
Meloni’s party has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years, having won only 4.5% of the vote in the last election, in 2018.
Its popularity underscores Italy’s longstanding rejection of mainstream politics, recently seen in the country’s support for anti-establishment parties such as the Five Star Movement and the Salvini League.
Celebrating the early results on Sunday night, Salvini said on Twitter, “The center right has a clear advantage in both the House and Senate! It’s going to be a long night, but for now I’d like to say thank you.”
Meloni, a 45-year-old mother from Rome who campaigned under the slogan “God, Country and Family,” leads a party whose agenda is rooted in European skepticism and anti-immigration policies, which has also proposed curtailing LGBT rights and abortion rights.
The centre-left coalition, led by the Left Democratic Party and Center + Europe, is set to win between 25.5% and 29.5% of the vote, while former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s attempt to revive the Five Star Movement appeared to have been. Unsuccessful, receiving only 14-17% of the vote.
The Democratic Party conceded defeat early Monday morning, calling the results “a sad evening for the country.”
“Undoubtedly, in light of the data seen so far, we cannot attribute the victory to the right dragged by Giorgia Meloni. It is a sad evening for the country,” Democrat Deborah Seracciani told reporters.
Sunday’s snap national election was triggered by partisan infighting that saw the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government in July.
Voters headed to the polls amid a number of new regulations, with voting hours also containing one day instead of two.
Other changes included a smaller voting age in the Senate and a reduction in the number of elected seats – from 685 to 400 in the Senate and from 315 to 200 in the House. This parliament is scheduled to meet on October 13, at which point the head of state will invite party leaders to decide on the form of the new government.
Hot issues have dominated the run-up to the elections, including Italy’s cost-of-living crisis, a €209 billion package from the European Covid-19 Recovery Fund and the country’s support for Ukraine.
Meloni differs from coalition partner leaders Berlusconi and Salvini on a number of issues, including Ukraine, and has no connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin, unlike the couple, who have said they would like to review sanctions against Russia because of their impact on Russia. Italian economy. Instead, Meloni was steadfast in her support for the defense of Ukraine.
The next prime minister – the sixth in just eight years – will be tasked with tackling those challenges, with rising energy costs and economic uncertainty among the country’s most pressing.
And while Meloni is set to go down in history as Italy’s first female prime minister, her politics doesn’t necessarily mean she’s interested in promoting women’s rights.
Emiliana de Blasio, a diversity and inclusion consultant at LUISS University in Rome, told CNN that Meloni “doesn’t raise all the questions about women’s rights and empowerment in general.”
Sunday’s results come as other far-right parties in other European countries have made recent gains, including the rise of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats – a party with neo-Nazi roots – who are expected to play a major role in the new party. . The government after winning the second largest share of seats in the general elections earlier this month.
And in France, while far-right organizer Marine Le Pen lost the French presidential election to Emmanuel Macron in April, her share of the popular vote shifted the French political center significantly to the right.