Italians began voting Sunday in an election expected to usher in the country’s first government led by a conservative coalition since World War II, bringing eurosceptic populists to the heart of Europe. The Brothers of Italy party, led by one-time Mussolini supporter Giorgia Meloni, is leading opinion polls and looks set to take office in a coalition with Matteo Salvini’s LeagueParty and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia parties.
Economist Unless the polls are dramatically mistaken, on September 25th Italians will elect the most right-wing government in their country’s post-war history. A three-party alliance is expected to win more than 60% of the seats in parliament; the Brothers of Italy (fdi) looks set to dominate the trio, and its leader, Giorgia Meloni, to take over as prime minister.
Meloni, 45, who has campaigned on a motto of “God, country and family”, is hoping to become Italy‘s first female prime minister. Liberals shudder at the thought. In speeches Ms Meloni hammers away at illegal immigrants and “woke ideology”. She told American conservatives earlier this year that “our whole identity is under attack”, and has accused the European Union of being complicit in ethnic “replacement”.
A straight-speaking Roman raised by a single mum in a working-class neighbourhood, Meloni rails against what she calls “LGBT lobbies”, “woke ideology” and “the violence of Islam”. She has vowed to stop the tens of thousands of migrants who arrive on Italy’s shores each year, a position she shares with Salvini, who is currently on trial for blocking illegal alien Muslim invader ships when he was interior minister in 2019.
She defends and admires Viktor Orban, Hungary’s populist prime minister. Ms Meloni’s elevation would follow the Sweden Democrats’ success last week in becoming that country’s second-largest party, with a probable say in the next government. Marine Le Pen in France took 41% of the vote in her race against Emmanuel Macron in April.
All these are signs of a powerful shift in the European balance towards the nationalist hard right. Fed up with the failures of the established parties, voters are plumping for the untried and untested.