Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Italy’s far-right win election with clear majority, exit polls show


A right-wing alliance led by a party with neo-fascist roots has won a clear majority in Italy’s parliament, according to the first exit polls published after Sunday’s vote.

State broadcaster RAI said the bloc of conservative parties led by the Brothers of Italy party, which includes Matteo Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia parties, won between 41 and 45 per cent – enough to guarantee control of both houses of Italy’s parliament.

If the final result reflects the exit polls, it will send shockwaves throughout Italian and European politics.

As a result, Ms Meloni will almost certainly become the first woman leader in Italy’s history, the latest high-profile female politician across the continent, and will lead the most far-right government elected by Italians since the Second World War.

Italy is the European Union’s third-largest economy and Ms Meloni’s victory comes at a critical time, as much of the continent reels from soaring energy bills, a repercussion of the war in Ukraine, and the West’s fragile resolve to stand united against Russian aggression is being tested.

The comprehensive victory would also likely mean a return to the political top table for the veteran Berlusconi, who turns 86 on Thursday, and a senior government position for anti-immigration Salvini.

Ms Meloni has vowed to continue Rome’s support for Kyiv, but suspicions remain that pressure from Mr Salvini and Mr Berlusconi, who have both championed Russian president Vladimir Putin in the recent past, could see Italy’s support for Ukraine weaken. Last week Mr Berlusconi claimed Russia’s president was “pushed” into war.

One of the first leaders to congratulate Ms Meloni was Hungary’s controversial leader Viktor Orban, who wrote on Twitter: “In these difficult times, we need more than ever friends who share a common vision and approach to Europe’s challenges.”

RAI added that the centre-left alliance of former Democratic Party premier Enrico Letta, gained 29.5 per cent of the vote. The broadcaster said the exit poll had a margin of error of 3.5 per cent. The Five Star Movement are in third place, with 16.5 per cent.

The result caps a meteoric rise for Ms Meloni, who only got 4 per cent of the votes at the last general election.

Her traditional message has appealed to voters struggling with a cost of living crisis and an electorate that has shunned more established parties in recent years. Italian businesses and households are struggling to pay gas and electricity bills, which in some cases are 10 times higher than last year’s.

Ms Meloni campaigned by claiming: “I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am a mother, I am Italian, I am a Christian.”

She has sought to reassure people of her party’s past as the Brothers of Italy was forged from a neo-fascist party formed shortly after the war by nostalgists of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

But a strong mandate could allow her, say critics, to reverse any progressive laws in areas such as LGBT+ and abortion, despite reassurances during campaigning. A crackdown on immigration is a certainty.

Salvini, Berlusconi and Meloni at closing electoral campaign rally (Reuters)

It is also likely that her government could form a powerful right-wing European alliance with parties including Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice party, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats and Spain’s far-right Vox party.

Her victory is also a demonstration of the growing importance of far-right parties – and ideas – in Europe, even those that did not gain power such as France’s National Rally party, headed by Marine Le Pen, who won 40 per cent of the vote in the presidential election earlier this year.

Ms Meloni has been anti-EU in some of her rhetoric during the campaign, but it is unlikely her victory will lead to any great difference in Italy’s relations with Brussels as it is reliant on the EU’s post-pandemic funds.

The election was held six months early after premier Mario Draghi’s pandemic unity government collapsed in late July.

Full results are expected by early Monday.

Related Stories
Italy general election 2022: exit poll shows victory for far-right – as it happened
Giorgia Meloni and far-right Brothers of Italy in line to form new coalition with right getting 41-45% of the vote, while left alliance has 25-29%
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Italy election results: voters reward Giorgia Meloni’s party as far-right on track for clear majority
Italian voters rewarded Giorgia Meloni's Eurosceptic party with neo-fascist roots, propelling the country toward what likely would be its first far-right-led government since the Second World War, based on partial results from the election for parliament.
Italian far-right alliance leading vote, exit poll shows
Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni’s electoral alliance appeared to hold a wide lead in Italy’s national note, an exit poll on state television suggested shortly after polls closed on Sunday evening.
Far-right heading for power after Italy vote: exit polls
Rome (AFP) - Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni came top in Italian elections on Sunday, the first exit polls suggested, putting her eurosceptic populists on course to take power at the heart of Europe.
Italy elections: Giorgia Meloni hails ‘night of pride’ as exit polls point to far-right coalition victory
The leader of the Brothers of Italy party appears set to become country’s first female PM
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Exit polls suggest victory for Italy’s far right Brothers of Italy party
Giorgia Meloni could become Italy’s first female PM