EEurope and the world are looking forward to Italy, where a new parliament will be elected this Sunday. After the resignation of the previous head of government, Mario Draghi, the country faces a hard jolt to the right. According to experts, a legal alliance can look forward to a comfortable victory and an absolute majority in the new parliament. The future government could be led by Giorgia Meloni. She is head of the nationalist, EU-critical, and partly racist party Fratelli d’Italia, which according to polls is likely to be the strongest force.
A good 51.5 million Italians are invited to vote. Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. After that, forecasts and projections should make it clear later that night what the future parliament will look like.
Historically low turnout expected
Meloni has been the only significant opposition to Draghi’s multi-party government, and Fratelli has steadily risen. A few months ago, it received the most approval in polls for the first time. It is possible that the “Italian brothers” in the legal alliance will get more votes than the right-wing populist Lega of ex-Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and the conservative Forza Italia of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi combined.
The political rivals of the left and center parties mostly attacked each other in the election campaign instead of taking joint action against the strong right-wing bloc. This caused anger among Italians – a historically low voter turnout is expected.
Meloni and Co. are worrying Brussels and other international partners. The Fratelli want to renegotiate EU treaties and take away influence and power from the Union in favor of the nation states. Berlusconi and Salvini’s once-close ties to Vladimir Putin have led critics to fear that Italy may want to dilute support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. Meloni, however, repeatedly said clearly that she would remain at Kiev’s side.
Although the country under Draghi was doing well given the circumstances – corona pandemic, consequences of war, energy crisis – Meloni managed to fly high in the opposition. She was able to win over many who were dissatisfied, such as opponents of vaccination or war. In addition, after the next failure of a government, some Italians think that the 45-year-old Roman woman should try it. For many, the other parties and politicians are relics of the past and have already failed. Four former Prime Ministers (Berlusconi, Enrico Letta, Matteo Renzi, Giuseppe Conte) ran in the election campaign.