- According to forecasts, the alliance around the far-right Fratelli d’Italia party clearly won the elections in Italy.
- The alliance, which also includes the right-wing populist Lega and the conservative Forza Italia, is likely to get more than half of the seats in parliament, as TV stations consistently report based on post-election polls.
- As leader of the strongest party, Giorgia Meloni could lead the future government as Italy’s first female prime minister.
More than 50 million Italians were called to vote on Sunday. The turnout was historically low. At 7:00 p.m., only around 51 percent of those eligible to vote had cast their votes, the Interior Ministry announced. The polling stations closed at 11:00 p.m.
“The latest turnout figures show that they are significantly lower than in 2018 at the same time,” says SRF correspondent Simona Caminada in Rome. “So the forecasts of the past few weeks, which predicted a historically low turnout, could be right. The political fatigue of the Italians is clearly noticeable.”
According to the evaluation, the inflow was particularly weak in the south of the country in the regions of Calabria, Apulia, Campania and Basilicata as well as on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, at times well below 40 percent.
The previously lowest participation in the post-war period was already registered in 2018 at just under 73 percent.
Right expected victory
The right-wing bloc had already entered the election as the clear favorite and, according to forecasts, received 41 to 45 percent of the votes. Due to a special feature of Italian electoral law, this should be enough for an absolute majority in parliament. Closed alliances were favoured.
The political rivals of the left and center parties did not pull together in the election campaign. The electoral alliance of the Social Democrats of former Prime Minister Enrico Letta with left-wing parties and Greens saw the forecasts at 25.5 to 29.5 percent. The Five Star Movement, which started alone, came up with 13.5 to 17.5 percent. In the 2018 election, she had become the strongest party. The central alliance lagged behind at 6.5 to 8.5 percent.
Right winger in high flight
The Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) were recently able to benefit from their role as the only significant opposition to the multi-party government led by the internationally highly respected Mario Draghi. In the 2018 parliamentary elections, they had achieved just over 4.0 percent. Now they have more votes than former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s right-wing populist League and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative Forza Italia.
The Melonis party is often described as post-fascist. It is one of the successor parties to the MSI movement, which was founded by former officials of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) after the end of World War II. Meloni is committed to the roots of her party and does not condemn fascism outright. The Fratelli d’Italia, founded in 2012, have a flame in their logo that is reminiscent of Mussolini.
Assessment by SRF correspondent Simona Caminada
“In Italy, people are aware that today it is a choice of direction,” says SRF correspondent Simona Caminada in Rome.
“The votes in front of the polling stations were very different. There was the whole range: For example, people who went to vote in defiance because they are angry that Europe is so critical of Italy, and worried. Then other voices of people who are worried about the possible shift to the right that could be coming, who are worried about the future of Italy and have therefore gone to vote to prevent this shift to the right.
But it seems to me that other countries are even more excited about the outcome of these elections here than the Italians themselves.”
Long lines in front of some polling stations
The nationalist and EU-critical Meloni tweeted on Sunday morning: “Let’s make history together”. Their allies, such as the Lega, also posted a number of election messages on social networks on Sunday, as they had done the day before. They ignored a requirement to refrain from such statements on the day before and on the day of the election.
There were long lines in front of some polling stations, which caused some outrage. This was also due to the fact that a strip had to be carefully torn off the two filled out ballot papers – one each for the House of Representatives and one for the Senate – before they could be thrown into the ballot box. This additional procedure to combat voter fraud delayed the process. “I’ve never seen a snake like this,” said Forza Italia boss Silvio Berlusconi.