Italians vote in elections, right-wing government expected to win

Rome – Italians are expected to vote in elections on Sunday, handing back the country’s right-wing government and paving the way for Giorgia Meloni to become the country’s first female prime minister.

The last poll, conducted two weeks ago, looked like a clear victory for the right-wing coalition led by Meloni’s Italian Brotherhood.

Voting will begin at 7:00 AM (05:00 GMT) and voting will continue until 11:00 PM (21:00 GMT) when the exit polls are published.

However, the complex calculations required by the hybrid proportional/initial election law mean that it could take hours before the composition of the new, streamlined parliament is known.

Heavy rains hit parts of Italy on Sunday, with the Campania region around the southern city of Naples particularly hard hit. Some voters appear to have been put off as national turnout was just around 51% four hours before polls closed, compared to over 58% at the same stage in 2018. .

snap elections in italy
A man walks into a polling station with a ballot during the snap elections in Rome on September 25, 2022. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)

“Long live democracy,” said Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lieutenant Party, one of Meloni’s main supporters, as he voted in Milan on Sunday morning.

Meloni would be an obvious candidate for prime minister as leader of an alliance that also includes former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.

Berlusconi, 85, also voted in Milan wearing a typical double-breasted suit, while Meloni voted in his hometown of Rome.

A resident of Rome said he hoped the right would win.

“From what I’ve heard, the left has no serious manifesto, the party is on its own, while the right has at least a coalition,” said a voter who identified himself as Paolo.

Even with a clear outcome, the new parliament won’t open until October 13, and a new government is unlikely to take office before late October.

Melonize Rise

For Meloni, who won just 4% of the vote in the last national election in 2018, the win would cap a spectacular rise.

Meloni backed Western policy towards Ukraine and promised not to take undue risks as the economy was hit hard by rising prices.

Italy’s first fall national elections in more than 100 years were sparked by an intra-party struggle that overthrew Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad national unity government in July.

Italy has a history of political instability and the next prime minister, who has headed the 68th government since 1946, faces many challenges, especially rising energy costs.

The results of the vote are watched nervously in European capitals and financial markets as well.

European Union leaders eager to remain united after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are worried that Italy will become a more unpredictable partner than under former European Central Bank President Draghi.

For markets, there are long-standing concerns about Italy’s ability to manage a mountain of debt equivalent to around 150% of gross domestic product.

($1 = 1.0252 EUR)