ITALY: Italians were scheduled to cast their ballots on Sunday in an election that would usher in the nation’s first far-right administration since World War II and send Euroskeptic populists to the heart of Europe.
Giorgia Meloni,45, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, is attempting to unite two other right-leaning parties to become the nation’s first female prime minister.
She has softened her image and finds it offensive to be associated with Italy’s fascist past. In addition to supporting Western sanctions on Russia, she has softened her stance on Europe.
However, she continues to support the old fascist catchphrase “God, fatherland, and family”; she has spoken out against the “LGBT lobby” and advocated for a naval blockade of Libya to stop migration.
Exit polls and estimates will provide a general indication of the results when voting ends at 23:00 (21:00 GMT).
Observers in the town of Latina, an hour south of Rome, think the far right can wrest control of the town from the left. Latina, which was started by the fascist leader Benito Mussolini in 1932, still carries the dictator’s mark but has endured years of underfunding.
One bystander exclaims, “Look, it’s a disaster.” In recent years, the town has had a left-wing mayor, but the radical right has Latina on its radar.
Matteo Salvini, a supporter of Meloni, arrived here last week to finish the campaign for his League party. She is joined in her coalition by the centre-right Forza Italia led by the 85-year-old former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
A journalist with the neighbourhood daily Latina Oggi, Gianluca Atlante, claims that Meloni “speaks to the guts of the people.” The magnificent Palazzo Emme, designed to resemble the letter M for Mussolini, is situated behind him. Today, it functions as the regional office for the law enforcement division of the finance ministry.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, Italy’s economy was beginning to recover, but the energy crisis, which was largely brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused prices to spike. Italians are most concerned about paying their bills, while politicians have recently been debating Russia and Europe.
Italy will get a whopping €200 billion (£178 billion) in grants and loans from the EU as part of the post-Covid recovery effort, but only if the Mario Draghi-led unity government accepts the reforms. Giorgia Meloni has urged a revision of the strategy and stated her intention to “fight” Italy’s national interests within the EU more vigorously.
It makes sense that many of the leaders of Europe are closely monitoring this referendum.
Up until the beginning of August, the Meloni alliance was the target of a joint challenge from Italy’s left and centre parties. Enrico Letta, the leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, now has a difficult battle ahead of him after they were unable to agree. Letta was Meloni’s biggest rival in the polls.
Even though they may not agree on everything, he has policies in common with the Giuseppe Conte-led Five Star Movement.
Politicians from the right to the left concur that Italy’s educational system is in disrepair, but educators like Elisa doubt this election will make a difference.
Two houses of parliament, the Chamber and the Senate are chosen by the people of Italy. As a result of new regulations, the Chamber now has 400 seats and the Senate 200.
When combined with Italy’s mixed voting system, that is probably going to help the winning alliance the most. In Italy, more than 60% of seats are decided through proportional representation, while more than a third are decided by first-past-the-post elections similar to those in the United Kingdom.
According to Italian pundits, any combination that receives 40% of the vote could secure up to 60% of the seats. The right-wing alliance in particular is keeping a close eye on the new system since they require the support of two-thirds of the house to implement one of their policies.
Even if Giorgia Meloni’s friends provide her with an overall majority and the Brothers of Italy win the popular vote, it is not up to them to choose who will be prime minister. President Sergio Mattarella, who is significant to Italy’s constitution, is responsible for that.
Additionally, Meloni and her allies seek to make him a directly elected head of state rather than an objective figure nominated by parliament, which would be a major alteration to his position.
Although “presidential” may sound more democratic, there is a reason why some Italians are concerned about the idea of giving their head of state more authority, and that reason also stems from Italy’s prior experience with fascism.
There is another subject that is on people’s minds in Latina in addition to the political conflict between the left and right.
Gina Lollobrigida, one of Italy’s most cherished former stars, is running for the Senate. She rose to fame in the 1960s and is now 95 years old. Despite having a fractured femur, she will run in the election on Sunday.