Elections in Italy: the country plunges into the unknown after the victory of the far right

Giorgia Meloni and his post-fascist party, Fratelli d’Italia, come out on top in the partial results of Sunday’s elections. With the League and Forza Italia, it will have an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

The slow counting of the ballots confirmed Monday morning the clear lead of Ms. Meloni who won more than 26% of the vote. His party is now the first political formation in the country ahead of the Democratic Party (PD, center left) of Enrico Letta, at 19%. With the League and Forza Italia, it will have an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

In her first and brief statement after the vote, Giorgia Meloni wanted to reassure, both in Italy and abroad, where French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warned that France would be “attentive” to “respecting” the rights of man and abortion. “We will govern for all” Italians, promised Giorgia Meloni. “We will do this with the aim of uniting the people.”

A “historic victory” for the far right

The right-wing press was jubilant on Monday. “Revolution at the ballot box”, headlined The newspaperthe daily life of the Berlusconi family, while Libero noted: “The beaten left, (we are) free!!! “.

“Meloni takes Italy”, wrote on the other hand The Republica left-wing daily which opposed Giorgia Meloni head-on during the campaign. The print detailed “the thousand unknowns” that Italy faces after the “historic victory” of the far right.

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“That this happens a month before the centenary of the march on Rome and the beginning of Mussolini’s 20-year dictatorship is a coincidence: the Italians who voted for Meloni did not do so out of nostalgia for fascism” but the common point between the fascist autocrat and Mrs. Meloni is that they come to power “at the end of a lonely marathon against everything and everyone”, analyzes the Turin newspaper.

Economic challenges

The new executive will succeed the cabinet of national unity led since January 2021 by Mario Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank (ECB), called to the bedside of the third economy in the euro zone brought to its knees by the pandemic.

Draghi had negotiated with Brussels the granting of nearly 200 billion euros in financial aid to Italy in exchange for deep economic and institutional reforms, a windfall which represents the lion’s share of the European recovery plan.

Despite the stakes, several parties which had agreed to join his government (Fratelli d’Italia had remained in the opposition) ended up bringing him down this summer, for purely electoral reasons, leading to the calling of early legislative elections.

And while “Super Mario”, presented as the savior of the euro zone during the 2008 financial crisis, appeared as a guarantee of credibility in the eyes of its European partners, the coming to power of the far right nationalist, eurosceptic and sovereignty raises fears of a new era of instability.

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Especially since Italy, which is crumbling under a debt representing 150% of GDP, the highest ratio in the euro zone behind Greece, is experiencing inflation of more than 9% with gas and electricity bills that put millions of people in difficulty.

The Milan Stock Exchange was up on Monday morning, the victory of the far right having been widely anticipated by the markets. Friday, the Italian place had fallen by 3.36%, suffering the largest decline among the major European stock markets.

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