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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Italy Expected to Get Its First Female Prime Minister

Meloni would be the obvious choice for the prime minister as the head of an alliance that also includes Forza Italia

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ITALY: Italians went to the polls on Sunday in a referendum that is expected to bring back the nation’s most right-wing administration since World War Two and usher in Giorgia Meloni as its first female prime minister.

Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Sunday’s Italian election, setting herself up to become the country’s first female prime minister at the head of the most right-wing government since World War II.

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When the most recent polls were released two weeks ago, a right-wing coalition led by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party appeared poised for a resounding triumph.

There was still room for a surprise, though, as there was a polling blackout in effect for the two weeks before the election.

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Voting started at the polls at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will last until 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) when exit polls will be released.

However, it could take several hours before the makeup of a new, slimmed-down parliament is revealed due to the intricate calculations needed by a hybrid proportional/first-past-the-post electoral procedure.

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The Campania area, which is located around the southern city of Naples, was particularly affected by the heavy rain that fell on Sunday in some parts of Italy. Four hours before polls closed, just around 51% of eligible voters had turned out nationwide, compared to more than 58% at the same point in 2018. That seems to have dissuaded some voters.

Meloni would be the obvious choice for the prime minister as the head of an alliance that also includes Forza Italia, the former government of Silvio Berlusconi.

The 85-year-old Berlusconi cast his ballot in Milan while sporting one of his signature double-breasted suits. On Sunday evening, Meloni was scheduled to cast her ballot in her hometown of Rome.

Political unpredictability has a long history in Italy, and the next leader of the country’s 68th administration since 1946 will have several difficulties to overcome, including growing energy prices.

Both the financial markets and the capitals of Europe will be anxiously awaiting the results of the referendum.

Italy will likely be a more unpredictable partner than it was under former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, say European Union politicians anxious to maintain unity in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Also Read: EU-rightist Tension Increases as Italy’s Election Campaign Ends

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