Far-right seizes power after outnumbering votes in Italy, according to exit polls

Meloni’s Italian Brotherhood Party, which has neo-fascist roots and has never held office since the overthrow of dictator Benito Mussolini during World War II, is poised to form Italy’s most far-right government. It looks like it’s done.

Exit polls published by Rai public broadcaster and Quorum/YouTrend both put Brothers of Italy at the top with 22-26% of the votes.

Her allies Matteo Salvini’s far-right alliance and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia are lagging behind, but appear to have enough seats to secure a majority in both houses of parliament.

The results have yet to be confirmed, but it risks creating new problems for the European Union just weeks after the far-right won the Swedish elections.

Meloni, who campaigned under the motto ‘God, country and family’, has abandoned his call to leave the eurozone, one of Europe’s largest economies, but Rome wants more of its gains in Brussels. said he had to argue.

“Today you can participate in writing history,” the 45-year-old tweeted before the polls closed.

Turnout was lower than in the 2018 election.

Meloni has been leading the polls since Prime Minister Mario Draghi called snap elections in July following the collapse of the unity government.

In February 2021, when the former European Central Bank president was parachuted to lead a country still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, she was the only political party not to join Draghi’s coalition.

For many voters, Meloni was “a novelty, the only leader the Italians hadn’t tried yet,” he told AFP before the election.

But the self-proclaimed ‘Mother of Christians’ — whose experience in government was limited to a ministerial stint in Berlusconi’s 2008 government — faces big challenges.

Like many European countries, Italy is plagued with inflation, while a conflict-linked energy crisis in Ukraine looms this winter.

Italy, the euro zone’s third-largest economy, has also been hit. It has a debt equivalent to 150% of the Gross Domestic Product.

“Limited room for maneuver”

The Brothers of Italy has its roots in the post-fascist movement founded by supporters of Benito Mussolini, who himself admired dictators in his youth.

From winning just 4% of the vote in 2018 to Sunday’s victory, she has built her party into a political force and sought to distance herself from the past.

Her coalition bases its campaign on low tax rates, the end of mass immigration, Catholic family values, and the claim of Italy’s nationalist interests abroad.

They want to renegotiate the EU post-pandemic recovery fund, claiming: We must take into account the approximately 200 billion euros that Italy will receive energy crisis.

But “Italy cannot afford to be deprived of these sums,” political sociologist Marc Lazar told AFP.

The money is tied to a series of reforms that Draghi has just begun.

Ukraine support

Despite her euroskepticism, Meloni strongly supports EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, but her allies are another matter.

Berlusconi, a billionaire former prime minister who has long been friends with Vladimir Putin, faced protests this week after suggesting the Russian president was “pushed” into the war by his entourage.

Meloni and her allies are the only areas where they disagree, and some analysts predict their coalition may not last long.

Italian politics has been historically unstable, with nearly 70 governments since 1946.

An outspoken Roman who was raised by a single mother in a working-class neighborhood, Meloni opposes what she calls the “LGBT lobby,” “aware ideology,” and “Islamic violence.” .

She vowed to stop the tens of thousands of migrants arriving on Italy’s shores each year, joining Salvini, who is now on trial for obstructing a charity rescue ship when she was interior minister in 2019. is.

The center-left Democrat believes her government Despite being at the forefront of the climate emergency, Italy takes grave risks to hard-won rights such as abortion and ignores global warming. Far-right seizes power after outnumbering votes in Italy, according to exit polls

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