December 9, 2022

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Italy's election winners target an era of political stability

Italy’s election winners target an era of political stability

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  • The right-wing bloc will have a clear majority in both houses
  • Meloni will be the country’s first female prime minister
  • The leader of the association says the government will be stable
  • The government is not expected to be sworn in for a few weeks
  • Record low turnout overshadows the result

ROME (Reuters) – The right-wing coalition that won Italy’s national elections will usher in a rare era of political stability to tackle a host of problems plaguing the euro zone’s third-largest economy, a senior figure in the right-wing coalition that won Italy’s national elections said on Monday.

Georgia Meloni appears set to become Italy’s first female prime minister to head the most right-wing government since World War Two, after leading a conservative coalition to victory in Sunday’s election.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the League party and one of the main allies of the Brotherhood of Italy led by Meloni, ignored the poor performance of his party and predicted an end to Italy’s revolving door governments.

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“I expect that for at least five years we will move forward without any changes, without any fluctuations, with priority given to the things that we need to do,” Salvini told a news conference.

The near final results showed that the right-wing bloc, which also includes Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, should have a solid majority in both houses of parliament, which could end years of turmoil and fragile alliances.

Italian general election results of 2022

The result is the right’s latest success in Europe after a breakthrough by anti-immigration Sweden Democrats in this month’s elections and progress made by France’s National Rally in June.

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“The Italians have given us an important responsibility,” Meloni said in a social media post on Monday.

“It will now be our job to not disappoint them and do our best to bring back the dignity and pride of the homeland,” she said, alongside a photo of her holding the country’s flag.

Meloni, who has spoken out against what she calls the “gay lobby” and mass immigration, is trying to downplay her party’s post-fascist roots and portray it as a mainstream group like Britain’s Conservative Party.

She has pledged to support Western policy on Ukraine and not to risk Italy’s fragile finances.

difficult inheritance

Meloni and her allies face a daunting list of challenges, including rising energy prices, the war in Ukraine and a renewed economic slowdown.

Its coalition government, Italy’s 68th since 1946, is unlikely to be installed before the end of October and Prime Minister Mario Draghi remains at the helm of the interim administration for now.

Despite talk of stability, Meloni’s coalition is divided on some highly sensitive issues that may be difficult to reconcile once he takes over government.

Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, propelled Rome to the center of EU policymaking during his 18-month tenure in office, building close ties with Paris and Berlin.

In Europe, the first to praise Meloni’s victory was hard-right opposition parties in Spain and France, Poland and Hungary’s conservative nationalist governments that soured relations with Brussels.

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Salvini is skeptical of the West’s sanctions against Russia, and he and Berlusconi have often expressed admiration for its leader, Vladimir Putin.

The allies also have different views on how to deal with high energy bills and have made a range of promises, including tax cuts and pension reform, that Italy will struggle to afford.

With nearly all results tallied, the Brothers of Italy led with around 26% of the vote, up from just 4% in the last national election in 2018, replacing the league as a driving force on the right.

The League got less than 9%, down from more than 17% four years ago, but despite the relatively low score, Salvini said he would stay on as the party’s leader. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia team scored about 8%.

Center-left and center-left parties won more votes than the right, but were punished by an electoral system that rewarded broad alliances. Enrico Letta, head of the main opposition party, the Democratic Party, announced that he would step down as leader.

Despite its clear result, the vote was not a strong endorsement of the right bloc. The turnout was just 64% versus 73% four years ago – a record low in a country that has historically had strong voter participation.

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This story was reported by Elisa Anzulin from Milan. Additional reporting by Crispian Palmer, Angelo Amanti, Gavin Jones and Elvis Armellini in Rome. Editing by Crispian Palmer, Nick McPhee and Alex Richardson

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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