February 23, 2024

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Italian right-winger Meloni wins in opinion polls

Italian right-winger Meloni wins in opinion polls

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  • The right-wing bloc will have a majority in the House and Senate
  • Meloni will be the country’s first female prime minister
  • Early voting after the collapse of the Draghi government

ROME (Reuters) – A right-wing coalition led by Georgia Meloni’s Brotherhood of Italy looks set to achieve a clear majority in the next parliament, opinion polls said on Sunday, after voting in Italy’s national election ended.

An opinion poll by state broadcaster Rai showed the conservative party bloc, which also includes Matteo Salvini’s party and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, won between 41 and 45 percent, enough to secure control of both houses of parliament.

Italian electoral law favors groups that have been able to conclude pre-polling agreements, giving them a huge number of seats compared to the number of their votes.

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Full results are expected early Monday.

If confirmed, the result would limit the perceived rise of Meloni, whose party won just 4% of the vote in the last national election in 2018, but this time it was expected to emerge as Italy’s largest group with 22.5-26.5%.

As the leader of the largest party in the winning coalition, she is the obvious choice to become Italy’s first female prime minister, but the transition of power is traditionally slow and it may take several weeks before the new government is sworn in.

Meloni, 45, plays down her party’s post-fascist roots as a major conservative group. She has pledged to support Western policy on Ukraine and not take undue risks with the eurozone’s third largest economy.

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Italy’s first autumn national election in more than a century erupted into the infighting between parties that toppled Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad national unity government in July.

Italy has a history of political instability, and the next prime minister will lead the country’s 68th government since 1946 and face a host of challenges, notably rising energy costs and growing economic headwinds.

The outcome of the vote was also watched with concern in European capitals and financial markets, given the desire to maintain unity in dealing with Russia and concerns about Italy’s massive mountain of debt.

The new mini-parliament will not meet until October 13, at which point the head of state will summon the party leaders and decide the form of the new government.

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Additional reporting by Gavin Jones and Giselda Fagnoni. Editing by Keith Weir

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