The far right has claimed victory in Italy’s legislative elections. Giorgia Meloni is set to become the first female prime minister, leading Italy’s most right-wing government since World War II. According to polls, Meloni and his party, the Brothers of Italy, together with allies, are garnering around 43% of the vote, which means a majority in both houses of Parliament.
The result marks the return to politics of Silvio Berlusconi, one of the members of the right-wing coalition. The former prime minister managed to cause a scandal on the very day of the elections. In a bar in Milan, during a discussion with some close friends, he criticized his allies: “I’m a little afraid of Meloni, Salvini has no experience, so I’ll be the head of the government.”
“”The Italians sent a clear message in favor of a right-wing government led by the Brothers of Italy. We will govern for all Italians. We will do it with the aim of uniting people”, said the leader of the Italian extreme right, Giorgia Meloni, who might be prime minister after his victory in the legislative elections on Sunday, while trying to calm the concerns expressed in his country and abroad.
Remaining in opposition to all successive governments since the legislative elections of 2018, the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia, FdI) have established themselves as the main alternative, moving from 4.3% to a quarter of the votes, according to the first estimates, becoming the first party in the peninsula.
The coalition Meloni is forming together with the other far-right Eurosceptic party, Matteo Salvini’s League, and Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative party Forza Italia is set to win around 43% of the vote, which guarantees him an absolute majority of seats, both in the Chamber of Deputies, as well as in the Senate.
The formation founded at the end of 2012 by Giorgia Meloni with dissidents of Berlusconism is ahead of the Democratic Party (PD, left) of Enrico Letta, which failed to generate a useful vote to block the extreme right and falls below the 20% threshold, in a context of low participation (64.07%, compared to 73.86% in 2018).
PD Vice-President Debora Seracchiani recognized “the victory of the right led by Giorgia Meloni”, which marks “a sad evening for the country”.
The 5 Star Movement would have obtained between 13.5% and 17.5%, and the Italia Viva Action between 6.5% and 8.5%.
Italy’s electoral law favors alliances formed before the election, giving them a higher number of seats in parliament compared to the number of votes received.
The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki were the first European leaders whp sent “congratulations” to Giorgia Meloni since Sunday evening.
Viktor Orban, through the voice of his political director, deputy Balazs Orban, added this message: “We need more than ever friends who share a common vision and approach to Europe.” Giorgia Meloni “showed the way to a proud and free Europe of sovereign nations”, hailed the leader of the far-right Spanish party VOX, Santiago Abascal.
The government that will be established in Rome will have to manage the spectacular increase in prices, given that Italy has a debt of 150% of GDP, the highest in the euro zone after Greece. In this context, the European post-pandemic recovery plan, whose main beneficiary is by far Italy, will be indispensable for keeping the peninsula afloat.
“Italy cannot afford to be deprived of these sums of money,” historian Marc Lazar told AFP, describing Meloni’s margin of maneuver over the economy as “very limited.” It could instead go to war with Brussels alongside Warsaw and Budapest “in matters of defense of the national interest in relation to the national interests”.