Italy confirms far-right shift in Sunday's elections

Italy confirms far-right shift in Sunday's elections
Credit: Fratelli d'Italia

Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni will become Italy's first woman Prime Minister after Brothers of Italy picked up around 26% in Sunday’s election, winning a majority in both parliamentary chambers.

On a night that was marked by low turnout – particularly in the south – only 64% of Italians showed up to vote. In the end, it was a convincing victory for the right-wing electoral coalition, led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy – a party with neofascist roots.

In both the Senate and the House of Deputies, the right-wing coalition picked up around 44% of the vote. At around 2am, Giorgia Meloni declared victory, speaking of a moment of “pride and redemption” and a pledge to “value what unifies Italians.”

While Meloni triumphed, it was a disappointing night for the other members of the right-wing coalition. Far-right Matteo Salvini and Lega picked up 8,9%, with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia just behind on 8,1%. But it was still enough to give the right-wing coalition victory.

The left bloc, led by Enrico Letta's Democratic Party (PD) picked up around 26%. The PD's individual result was seen as disappointing, having received just under 20% of the vote. The Five Star Movement came in as the third largest party outside of any coalition, with 15%.

Despite having triggered the election after having pulled their support for the Mario Draghi government, the Five Star Movement overtook their former coalition partners Lega, and again were crowned the party of the south. Leader Giuseppe Conte commented on the results. “We made a great comeback, everyone wanted us out and instead we are the third political force in Parliament.”

The centrist coalition with Carlo Calenda and Matteo Renzi's parties picked up less than 8%, after having snubbed the left-wing coalition. The Left-Green alliance, who were part of the left coalition, also did better than expected and got over the threshold of 3%.

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Meloni is now expected to be asked by President Sergio Mattarella in the coming weeks to form a government. However, it will be Mario Draghi who will represent Italy at the EU leaders meeting on 7 October.

Brussels has so far not reacted to the result, but Meloni was congratulated by other European far-right leaders Victor Orban, Santiago Abascal, Eric Zemmour and Mateusz Morawiecki.

The electoral results have shown how a united right-wing coalition faired considerably better than a divided left. If the PD and the left-wing coalition had joined forces with the Five Star Movement and the centrist coalition, the left would have got nearly 48%.

But once again, a pragmatic political compromise could not be found among the centre-left, not even when faced with Italy first far-right majority since the Second World War.

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