Giorgia Meloni becomes Italy’s first woman premier

Far-Right party Brothers of Italy's leader Giorgia Meloni flashes the victory sign at her party's electoral headquarters in Rome, early Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Italian voters rewarded Giorgia Meloni's euroskeptic party with neo-fascist roots, propelling the country toward what likely would be its first far-right-led government since World War II, based on partial results Monday from the election for Parliament. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A party with neo-fascist roots, the Brothers of Italy, won the most votes in Italy’s national elections, looking set to deliver the country’s first far-right-led government since World War II and make its leader, Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first woman premier, near-final results showed Monday, September 26.

(AP).- Italy’s lurch to the far right immediately shifted Europe’s geopolitical reality, placing a Euroskeptic party in a position to lead a founding member of the European Union and its third-largest economy. Right-wing leaders across Europe immediately hailed Meloni’s victory and her party’s meteoric rise as sending a historic message to Brussels.

Near-final results showed the center-right coalition netting some 44% of the parliamentary vote, with Meloni’s Brothers of Italy snatching some 26%. Her coalition partners divided up the remainder, with the anti-immigrant League of Matteo Salvini winning nearly 9% and the more moderate Forza Italia of ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi taking around 8%.

The center-left Democratic Party and its allies had around 26%, while the 5-Star Movement — which had been the biggest vote-getter in the 2018 Parliamentary elections — saw its share of the vote halved to some 15% this time around.

Turnout was a historic low 64%. Pollsters suggested voters stayed home in part in protest and also because they were disenchanted by the backroom deals that had created the three governments since the previous election.

Meloni, whose party traces its origins to the postwar, neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, sounded a moderate, unifying tone in a victory speech early Monday that noted that Italians had finally been able to clearly determine who they wanted to govern.

“If we are called to govern this nation, we will do it for everyone, we will do it for all Italians and we will do it with the aim of uniting the people (of this country),” Meloni said. “Italy chose us. We will not betray (the country) as we never have.”

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