Italians vote in elections that could bring the Far Right into power – National

Italians vote in elections on Sunday, pushing the country’s politics sharply to the right at a crucial time for Europe as war in Ukraine soars energy bills and tests the West’s resolve to unite against Russian aggression there is a possibility.

Voting began at 7am (0500GMT) and by noon voter turnout was the same or slightly lower than at the same time in Italy’s last general election in 2018. ), predictions based on partial results will be made early Monday morning.

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Prior to the ban on the publication of polls for the two weeks leading up to the election, far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, with neo-fascist roots, and her Brotherhood Party were the most popular in polls. For the first time since World War II, the Italians signaled they were ready to have a far-right government in power. Close behind were former Prime Minister Enrico Letta and his centre-left Democrats.

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“Today you can help write history,” Meloni tweeted Sunday morning.

Letta tweeted a picture of herself at the ballot box. “Good vote!” he wrote.

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Meloni is part of a right-wing coalition between Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-immigrant alliance, and Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister three times leading the Forza Italia party he created 30 years ago. Italy’s complex electoral law rewards campaign coalitions, leaving the Democrats at a disadvantage because they have failed to secure similarly broad alliances with left-wing populists and centrists.

If Meloni becomes prime minister, she will become Italy’s first female prime minister. But it could take weeks to form a viable ruling coalition.

About 51 million Italians were eligible to vote. But pollsters predicted turnout could be even lower than his record low of 73% in the last general election in 2018. They say that despite Europe’s many crises, many voters feel alienated from politics. Last election — both were led by individuals not running for office.

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Early voters in Rome expressed concern about Italian politics as a whole.

“I hope to meet honest people, but this is very difficult today,” Adriana Gherdo said at a polling station in the city.

In Milan, voter Alberto Vertroni said he believed the outcome was still unknown.

“We expect these elections to be difficult to read and understand, with unexpected votes as opposed to pre-election polls,” he said.

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Elections for the Eurozone’s third largest economy are in the spotlight in Europe. This, given Meloni’s criticism of the “Brussels bureaucracy” and her links to other right-wing leaders, has led her to recently criticize Hungary after the European Commission recommended a moratorium on billions of euros. Viktor defended her Orban. Funding to Hungary over her concerns about democratic setbacks and possible mismanagement of EU funds.

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Elections are coming six months early after Mario Draghi’s pandemic unity government collapsed in late July. Italian President Sergio Mattarella saw no choice but to let voters elect a new parliament.

Polls show former European Central Bank President Draghi is very popular. But his three populist parties in the coalition boycotted a confidence vote related to the energy bailout. Their leaders Salvini, Berlusconi, and Five Star Movement leader Giuseppe Conte were former prime ministers, whose party was the largest in the outgoing parliament, and while Meloni’s popularity grew, they has declined in popularity.

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Meloni refused to join Draghi’s unity government or Conte’s two coalitions that ruled after the 2018 vote, leaving his Italian brothers in the opposition.

She further distanced herself from Salvini and Berlusconi and provided unwavering support for Ukraine, including sending weapons so that Kyiv could defend itself against Russia. Her nationalist party defends sovereignty.

Before Russia’s invasion, Salvini and Berlusconi gushed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the final day of the campaign, Salvini criticized Russian atrocities in Ukraine, while Berlusconi said after accusing pro-Moscow separatists in Donbass that they were being harmed by Ukraine, Putin was simply “decent.” ” He frowned, saying that he only wanted people into the Kyiv government.

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Many factories in Italy are facing cutbacks, some have already cut production and others are closing as gas and electricity bills are 10 times higher than they were a year ago. There is a possibility. Despite their political leanings, the leading candidates agreed on the urgency of an EU-wide price cap on energy prices.

Draghi, who will remain in an interim role until a new government takes office, has been seeking the same relief from EU authorities in Brussels for months.

© 2022 Associated Press

Italians vote in elections that could bring the Far Right into power – National

Source link Italians vote in elections that could bring the Far Right into power – National

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