Voting begins for Italy's legislative elections: the far right remains the favorite

Steph Deschamps / September 25, 2022

The polls opened Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. in Italy, for legislative elections in which the right and, above all, its extremes are considered favorites. Some 51.5 million people are expected to vote this Sundayand some were already lining up before the opening of the polls, under a cloudy sky. The polls will close at 11:00 p.m. and the first exit polls will give an indication of the results. These early elections, after the fall of Mario Draghi's coalition government, could well see the emergence of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia party and its leader Giorgia Meloni becoming the first woman to head an Italian government.

The party, which describes itself as "the movement of patriots and conservatives," cannot hide its fascist family tree, heir to the Italian Social Movement (MSI) founded in 1946 by dignitaries of the Mussolini regime. With only 5% of the votes in the House and Senate in the 2018 elections, the "Brothers of Italy" have risen to power from the opposition, criticizing both the management of the coronavirus pandemic and immigration policy and standing out from Mario Draghi's broad national unity coalition, supported by all other parties.
An ex-fan of Mussolini, the 45-year-old Roman has succeeded in de-demonizing her party and catalyzing the discontent and frustrations of her compatriots around her name. On social issues, Giorgia Meloni is ultra-conservative: "Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby! Yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology! Yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death!", proclaimed in June the one who also promises to fight "against the Islamization of Europe".
But the mass is not said: "unpredictable, the elections are played on the emotion and at the last moment", reminds AFP Emiliana De Blasio, professor of sociology at the Luiss University of Rome, while emphasizing the key role of undecided and the importance of the final rate of participation. The scores of the 5 Star Movement (M5S, ex-antisystem), credited with having instituted a minimum income for the poorest, and the Democratic Party (PD, left), well established locally, could also hold surprises, especially in the south of the country.
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