Polling underway in Italy; far-right leader Giorgia Meloni expected to become the new PM


Italy is gearing up for its most right-wing government since Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party won almost a century ago. Polling is underway and will continue till 23:00 (21:00 GMT) as Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party looks set to become the first female prime minister of the country. 

As per data, almost 51 million Italians are eligible to vote, of whom 4.7 million live abroad. Voters turning up to cast their votes today will be electing a slimmed-down parliament with the number of seats in the lower house cut to 400 from 630, while the Senate goes to 200 seats from 315. 

Voters get two voting slips; one for the Senate and one for the lower house. They can only put one cross on each slip, with that vote counted for both the first-past-the-post and proportional representation segments.

When the election canvassing trail ended on Thursday, Meloni exuded confidence as she remarked, “We are the real majority of the country.”

And there is a reason behind her confidence. One in every four Italian, according to the opinion polls, is planning to vote for Meloni and her party. 

WATCH | Italy goes to polls on Sunday, Giorgia Meloni tipped to be next PM

It is pertinent to note that the election was called after infighting brought down Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s national unity government in July.

Consequently, Brothers of Italy has seen a surge in its support after it remained outside Draghi’s government. The League, led by Matteo Salvini, and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia were both part of the government and their support has slipped.

In sharp contrast to anti-migrant Salvini and Berlusconi, who have both openly admired Russian President Vladimir Putin, Meloni backs military aid for Ukraine.

Read more: Rightist alliance set for Italian election victory

Moreover, the parties on the right-end of the spectrum have been helped by divisions in the centre-left where attempts by the main Democratic Party (PD) to form a broad electoral alliance fell apart.

That has left three main groups in the centre or centre-left fighting for votes: the PD and its allies; the centrist Azione party and its Italia Viva partner; and finally 5-Star.

While this is the first election in the last five years, Italy’s political landscape has always been chaotic. In the 77 years since the end of World War II, the country has seen over 70 governments, roughly amounting to one government every thirteen months. 

(With inputs from agencies)




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