Italy to elect far-right government
Italians voted yesterday on whether to inaugurate the country’s first far-right-led government since World War II, bringing Eurosceptic populists to the heart of Europe.
The Brothers of Italy party, led by former Mussolini supporter Giorgia Meloni, has led opinion polls and appears poised to take office in a coalition with far-right League parties and Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi.
Meloni, 45, who campaigned under the slogan “God, Fatherland and Family”, hopes to become Italy’s first female prime minister.
Turnout was around 19% as of 10:00 GMT, according to the Interior Ministry, in line with the last elections in 2018, when large queues formed outside polling stations.
“I play to win, not just to participate,” Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right League, told reporters as he went to vote.
President Sergio Mattarella and Enrico Letta, leader of the center-left Democratic Party, also cast their ballots early yesterday. Polls close at 21:00 GMT.
Brussels and the markets are watching closely, fearing that Italy – a founding member of the European Union – could be the latest country to veer right, less than two weeks after the far-right’s election victory in Sweden.
Brothers of Italy, which has its roots in the post-fascist movement founded by supporters of dictator Benito Mussolini, pocketed just 4% of the vote in 2018.
Meloni has moderated his views over the years, notably dropping his calls for Italy to leave the EU’s single currency. However, she insists that her country must defend its national interests, supporting Hungary in its battles against the rule of law with Brussels.