November 29, 2022

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Italy votes, far right sees itself in power

Voter turnout fell sharply in Italy’s legislative elections on Sunday, where the far-right-dominated conservative coalition could win an absolute majority and restore post-fascist leader Giorgia Meloni to power.

• Read more: Italian far-right ahead of possible historic victory

• Read more: Is this the return of fascism in Italy?

According to the Interior Ministry, voter turnout at 5:00 pm GMT was 50%, down eight points from the 2018 assembly elections.

This decline is particularly marked in the southern regions of the peninsula (-12 points), which contributed massively to the success of the 5-Star movement four years ago, an anti-establishment formation still proud to be established as a “citizen” in 2019. Minimum Income” for the poor.

At 45, Giorgia Meloni, leader of Fratelli d’Italia, has 25% of the vote in recent polls, favored to lead a coalition government largely dominated by the far-right classical right.

“Today you can help write history,” he tweeted to his followers on Sunday morning. On TikTok, she posted a video where she covered her chest with a melon in each hand, playing on the meaning of her name.

If successful, Ms Meloni would be the first Italian “president of the assembly” and the first post-fascist government in a founding country of the European Union.

This former admirer of Mussolini succeeded in demonizing his party and encouraging the disaffection and despair of his comrades on his behalf by staunchly opposing Mario Draghi’s government of national unity with its motto of “God, Fatherland, Family”.

Unpredictable

But the masses are not told: “Unpredictable, elections are played based on emotion and at the last moment”, reminds AFP Emiliana de Blasio, Professor of Sociology at the University of Rome Louis, while emphasizing the important role of the undecided. About 20%.

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Ms Meloni needs her allies Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia to hope to secure a place in parliament.

“I look forward to returning from tomorrow to the government of this extraordinary country,” former interior minister Matteo Salvini said at the polls in Milan.

The results will be crucial for the political future of Democratic Party (PD, centre-left) boss Enrico Letta, the former head of government who called for an “effective vote” to fend off the far-right.

Economic risk

Whatever government emerges from the election, its path already appears to be strewn with potholes. Although government instability is long-standing, experts already agree on the short life of this alliance, where Meloni will have to do a lot to manage his hard-line allies Berlusconi and Salvini.

The latter also addressed sympathies from afar on Sunday. After the vote, Silvio Berlusconi lunched with supporters, saying he believed Salvini “needs to be framed” and that “he is not working”.

On Twitter, Salvini calmly replied: “Whatever he says, I will always love Silvio Berlusconi”.

The incoming government will have to manage a crisis caused by rising prices, a huge debt representing 150% of GDP, the highest rate in the euro zone behind Greece, and some 200 billion euros provided by the EU as part of it. Redemption scheme in exchange for reforms.

“Italy cannot afford to lose this sum,” observes historian Mark Lazar for AFP.

Giorgia Meloni has called for a “reexamination of the provisions of the Stability Pact”, suspended due to the health crisis, which set a ceiling of 3% for the deficit and 60% for the debt of GDP.

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On social issues, this pure Romanian woman is a staunch conservative: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby! Yes to Gender Identity, No to Gender Ideology! Yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death!” announced in June, pledging to fight “against the Islamization of Europe.”

His rise to power could also lead to a lockdown of the country where tens of thousands of migrants land each year, worrying humanitarian NGOs.

Polls will close at 9:00pm GMT, with the first polls giving an overview of the results.