Exit polls anticipate a political earthquake in Italy. With between 22 and 26% of the votes, Giorgia Meloni’s far-right formation would be the most voted in the country, according to the result given by public television. She would thus become the first woman to govern the Italian Executive. In addition, this would be the first led by the extreme right in the recent history of Europe.
The polls point to a clear victory for the center-right coalition, made up of Brothers of Italy, Liga and Forza Italia with around 43.5% of the vote. While the League, by Matteo Salvini, and Forza Italia by Silvio Berlusconi, have maintained a similar result with respect to the previous elections, Giorgia Meloni has multiplied by six the results obtained in 2018, going from 4% of votes to 26%.
Just behind the center-right coalition would be the center-left, led by Enrico Letta and the Democratic Party, which would obtain between 25.5 and 29.55% of the vote. The Five Star Movement, led by Giuseppe Conte, would keep between 13.5 and 17.5%, after a powerful campaign in southern Italy.
For its part, the “third pole” of Matteo Renzi and Carlo Calenda, expected to reach 10%, and according to these same surveys they would only obtain between 6.5 and 8.5%.
In the coming weeks, the parties will choose both the presidency of the Senate and that of the Chamber of Deputies. It will be then that President Sergio Mattarella will hold a round of consultations with all the parties and will order the formation of the Executive.
These are the keys to election night in Italy.
1. Giorgia Meloni, the first mujer at the frente of the Italian Executive
“The time has come for a woman to lead Italy,” Meloni repeated in his speeches. The card played by Roman politics, as reflected in the first exit polls, has been the winner.
Meloni will be, in all probability, the first woman to preside over the Government of the Italian Republic. With a peculiarity: the vision defended in recent years, “God, country and family”, coincides in many aspects with a patriarchal society, in which the rights of women, according to many observers, could go backwards.
In his electoral program there is no explicit reference to specific measures aimed at increasing the presence of women in the labor market, the only thing we find are mentions of support for female work in general and the intention to address the salary gap between men and women .
At a convention held in Milan just a few weeks ago, Meloni was in favor of outlawing surrogacy. In addition, the parties on the left fear that it will be more difficult for women to exercise their right to have an abortion. A right that is already complicated in some cases due to the conscientious objection that health workers can take advantage of, guaranteed by Law 194/1978.
2. The most right-wing government since Mussolini
Moderating her speech in the final stretch of the electoral campaign, Giorgia Meloni would have swept the general elections. His formation, Brothers of Italy, born from the post-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), could lead the first Executive led by the extreme right since World War II.
The projections advance the resounding victory of the coalition made up of Meloni, Salvini and Berlusconi, joining 43.5% of the votes. While Meloni would position herself as the clear favorite, Matteo Salvini is the one who would come out worst in these elections. His party would have collapsed, from obtaining 33% of the votes in the last European elections, to settle for the 12% that the polls give him in these elections.
These results predict that Giorgia Meloni will dictate the rules, but what will be the main characteristics of the next government?
The fight against irregular immigration: “Illegal immigration threatens the security and quality of life of citizens”. A phrase that defines a program. Meloni raises a controversial “naval blockade” that has put humanitarian organizations on alert.
Salvini himself, during his time as Minister of the Interior in 2018, applied a harsh policy of “closed ports. A measure later declared unconstitutional by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella.
On the economic front, the coalition is talking about a reduction in taxes or the implementation of a flat rate for personal income tax. This would mean a reduction in the tax burden for employees, self-employed workers and companies.
3. Political attrition in Italy
Although Italy has historically been a country that has had a high electoral turnout, Italians have come to these elections tired of the continuous disputes and changes of government that characterize the country’s politics.
For this same reason, the news has been the historical collapse of participation in the general elections, which has been around 65% compared to 73% in the last elections, in 2018, according to the first partial data from the Ministry of the Interior.
According to the first analyses, the influx decreases throughout the country, but especially in the south, where in cities like Naples it dropped to 10 points.
4. The position regarding the war in Ukraine
The coalition has wanted from the beginning to make its position clear in order to avoid possible attacks from the opposition. Meloni has been the one who has defended Italy’s membership in NATO and has not questioned the country’s role in the Alliance.
However, both Salvini and Berlusconi have repeatedly expressed their admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. For his part, Matteo Salvini, who wore t-shirts with Putin’s face, has been investigated for alleged illegal financing on behalf of a Russian gas operation, according to the Italian newspaper L’Espresso.
The condemnation of the war in Ukraine did not come immediately in the case of Berlusconi either. On the contrary. A few days ago he was leading a controversy by assuring that Russia’s goal was to put “decent” people in the Government of Ukraine. Some statements that he later denied.
5. The extreme right and Europe?
Meloni, who in the past was active in the neo-fascist youth, has done everything possible to present herself as a conservative candidate who will not destabilize relations with Europe, in this way she has convinced the Italians who went to the polls this Sunday.
Both the leader of the Brothers of Italy and Matteo Salvini positioned themselves from the beginning as anti-Europeanists. Berlusconi, since his formation, has positioned himself as the guarantor of Europeanism with respect to his allies. Although it remains unknown how an executive led by Meloni in Europe will actually behave.
The European institutions are preparing for a relationship that could generate friction. “My attitude is that we collaborate with any democratic government that wants to collaborate with us. If things go in a difficult direction, as I said with respect to Hungary and Poland, we have tools”, assured the president of the European Commission, Úrsula von der Leyen, when asked about this scenario.