Giorgia Meloni
(Giorgia Meloni, leader of far-right Brothers of Italy party)

Italy’s right-wing bloc leads polls ahead of Sept. vote

Italy prepares to head to the polls on September 25. The polls suggest that Giorgia Meloni, head of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, is on the verge of becoming Italy’s new prime minister in next month’s snap election. The early election was called after Mario Draghi resigned as prime minister after losing the confidence of parliament. Draghi remains as caretaker prime minister until the election.

A right-wing alliance made up of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, the remnants of the 85-year-old Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia! And Matteo Salvini’s Lega is on track to win 49.8% of the vote on September 25, according to a survey by the Tecne research institute. The poll placed the Democratic party-led center-left bloc at 30% and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement — once the country’s leading party — at 10.2%. A recently formed centrist grouping was at 4.8%.

Born in Rome in 1977, Meloni, joined the Italian Social Movement (MSI) party’s youth wing when she was 15. She later led the student branch of the far-right National Alliance, was elected to the Italian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies in 2006, and became Italy’s youngest minister two years later. Ten years ago, she founded the Brothers of Italy, which she has led since 2014. In 2020, she also took over the chairmanship of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) party, which includes, among others, the Polish ruling party, PiS.

She has called for more family-friendly benefits, less European bureaucracy, low taxes, and a halt to immigration. Meloni dismissed as “nonsense” claims that she would head an authoritarian government, saying such views are “inspired by the powerful media circuit of the left.” She also denied any plans to quit the euro and pledged not to jeopardise Rome’s roadmap to obtain billions in post-Covid EU funds.

UPDATE 26/09/2022

The Brothers of Italy party won the most votes in Italy’s national elections on Sunday. Meloni’s party ultimately won 26% of votes—six times more than it received in 2018—while the right-wing coalition it was part of secured 44%. In her first speech after the vote, Meloni said Italians have sent a “very clear message” that they want a “center-right government led by the Brothers of Italy (Fdl).” “This is the time of responsibility, the time in which if you want to be part of history, you have to understand what responsibility we have towards millions of people because Italy has chosen us and we will not betray it,” she said. The election was marked by record-low voter turnout, with just 64% of people participating, almost a 10% drop compared to the last general election. Draghi remains as caretaker until a new government is sworn in.

With reporting by The Spectator, Bloomberg, ANSA