Italy appeared poised to take a right turn as hotheaded politician Giorgia Meloni held a major lead in the country’s election on Sunday and was expected to become her next prime minister, based on exit polls.
According to state broadcaster Rai, Meloni’s brothers in Italy, in alliance with two other right-wing parties, League and Forza Italia, appeared on course to win 45% of the vote in both houses of parliament after polling stations closed at 11pm.
The closest came the centre-left coalition of former Democratic Party Prime Minister Enrico Letta, which rallied up to 29.5%. Rai said the exit poll has an error rate of about 3.5%.
Meloni’s eventual ascension to Italy’s top leadership would make her the most far-right politician to hold top office since the end of World War II. She would also be the first woman to hold the position.
“Today you can help me make history,” Meloni, 45, tweeted on Sunday as she encouraged voters to flock to the polls.
About 51 million Italians were eligible to vote, although the final turnout was 64%, much lower than the 73% of the last election in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.
The results are being closely watched given that Italy has the third largest economy in the European Union, as well as Meloni’s rebuke of the “Brussels bureaucrats” and their links to other right-wing leaders.
She has defended Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban after the European Commission proposed halting billions in funding to the country over concerns about the weakening of the county’s democratic values and the mismanagement of EU funds.
Brothers of Italy was founded from the legacy of a neo-fascist party formed shortly after the war by nostalgia of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. She would have to work with anti-migrant league leader Matteo Salvini and conservative former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi of Forza Italia to muster a solid majority in parliament.
The turn to the right could come as Europe faces several crises, including dealing with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meloni has distanced herself from Ringwing leaders for staunchly supporting Ukraine and sending arms there to fight Russia.
Italians are facing immense difficulties paying for their gas and electricity, in some cases 10 times higher than a year ago.
Many voters told pollsters they feel alienated from politics, with one voter, Adriana Gherdo, telling the Associated Press: “I hope we’re going to see honest people and that’s very difficult these days.
The vote comes after Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s unity government, formed during the COVID-19 pandemic, fell apart in late July. Draghi will remain caretaker until the new government is sworn in.
The counting of the paper ballots began after the polling stations closed and is expected to last well into Monday morning. It could take weeks for Italy to assemble and swear in a new coalition government.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/09/25/far-right-leader-giorgia-meloni-closing-in-as-next-prime-minister-of-italy/ Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni is set to become Italy’s next prime minister