According to forecasts, an alliance around the far-right Fratelli d'Italia party has clearly won the election in Italy. The alliance, which also includes the right-wing populist Lega and the conservative Forza Italia, is likely to get more than half of the seats in parliament, as broadcasters Rai and SkyTG24 reported on Sunday evening based on post-election polls. As leader of the strongest party, Giorgia Meloni could lead the future government - the 68th in the history of the republic - as Italy's first female prime minister.
More than 50 million Italians were called to vote on Sunday. The turnout was historically low. The previously lowest participation in the post-war period was registered in 2018 at just under 73 percent.
Parties and candidates were elected for both chambers of parliament, i.e. the House of Representatives and the smaller Senate. An official result was not expected until Monday.
The right-wing bloc went into the election as the favourite. According to the forecasts, he got 41 to 45 percent of the votes. Due to a special feature of Italian electoral law, a mixture of direct and proportional representation, this should be enough for an absolute majority in parliament. Closed alliances were favoured. "We can govern with these numbers," said Fratelli MP Fabio Rampelli.
The Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) were recently able to benefit from their role as the only significant opposition to the multi-party government led by the internationally highly respected Mario Draghi. In the 2018 parliamentary elections, they had achieved just over 4.0 percent. Now they have more votes than the right-wing populist League led by ex-Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and the conservative Forza Italia led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The Melonis party is often described as post-fascist. It is one of the successor parties to the MSI movement, which was founded by former officials of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) after the end of World War II. Meloni is committed to the roots of her party and does not condemn fascism outright. In the logo, the Fratelli d'Italia, founded in 2012, use a flame reminiscent of Mussolini and which is a symbol of the right. Meloni says she's "proud" of it.
The 45-year-old was more moderate in the election campaign. She also tried to allay concerns abroad about right-wing parties taking over government and assured that Italy would remain a reliable partner. She also rejected the fact that an election victory for the Fratelli could lead to an authoritarian turn or Italy's exit from the European Union and the common currency, the euro.
Nevertheless, parts of the EU are looking towards Italy with concern - also in view of the Ukraine war, in which the member states are struggling for unity. Meloni always emphasizes her support for the country attacked by Russia, and in terms of foreign policy she is considered pro-Western and a supporter of NATO. However, she is also known for her criticism of the institutions in Brussels. Your ally, Lega boss Salvini, also publicly doubts the effectiveness of the sanctions against Russia, making the EU jointly responsible for the dramatic increase in energy costs.
There have been three governments in Italy since the March 2018 general election, the first two under Giuseppe Conte. Former ECB boss Draghi was appointed prime minister in early 2021. According to plan, a new parliament should not have been elected until the beginning of 2023. However, the Five Star Movement voted no confidence in Draghi on a proposed law in July, prompting him to resign. However, Draghi will remain in office until a new government is sworn in - which can take several weeks.