UPDATED: The victory of right-wing politician Giorgia Meloni and her Brothers of Italy party (Fratelli d’Italia, fdl) in Italian general elections on Sunday has been confirmed as results continued to roll in on Monday morning.
As of 11:14 am local time, Brothers of Italy had clinched a 26.1 % share of the vote for both the lower house and senate.
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“The electorate has shown they want a center-right government led by the Brothers of Italy,” Meloni said in a short speech in the early hours of Monday morning, as exit polls and projections pointed to victory for her party.
Meloni is expected to take on the role of Italy’s first female prime minister and form Italy’s most right-wing government since World War Two with Matteo Salvini’s far-right League, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, and the smaller Noi Moderati party.
The League and Forza Italia’s results were far from stellar, however, with both parties registering significant drops in support, taking 8.8% and 8.1% of the vote respectively. Nonetheless, the coalition still has 43.8% of the lower house vote, with similar results in the senate.
Some local political pundits have suggested that Forza Italia could prove a weak link in the coalition plan, with its share of the vote down significantly on its 2018 result of 14%. The advanced age of Berlusconi, who turns 86 years old next week, and his recent comments in support of Russian president Vladimir Putin, have also raised questions.
There have also been reports of turbulence within the right-wing bloc, amid rumors of rivalry between Meloni and Salvini for the top job, although the latter is now in a weaker position following the League’s lacklustre showing.
Leading opposition parties, the center-left Partito Democratico, came in as the second most voted party with a 19% share of the lower house vote, followed by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement party, with 15.3%.
It could take Meloni many weeks to create a government, with local pundits asking whether she has enough experienced politicians in her relatively young party to fill key positions.
The snap general election was called in July after respected technocrat Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigned from a national unity government, created to navigate Italy to recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic when it lost the support of the Five Star Movement party.
Sunday’s win for the Brothers of Italy party signifies a political earthquake for Italy and Europe.
The party was created in 2012 by former members of the National Alliance, which in turn was heir to the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist party founded in 1946 by former members of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party.
Meloni has sought to distance her party from its neo-fascist roots but its populist stance and views on the Europe Union, abortion, gender politics and immigration have raised concerns at home and across Europe.
Her victory will strengthen the position of other populist leaders in the European bloc.
She has a close friendship with authoritarian Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, while the Brothers of Italy party has ties with Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, which has eroded abortion and LGTQ rights in the country.
Polish Prime Minister and Law and Justice member Mateusz Morawiecki was the first international leader to publicly congratulate Meloni on Sunday evening.
By contrast, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne refused to comment on the victory in a radio broadcast on Monday morning saying rather “In Europe, we have certain values and, obviously, we will be vigilant.”
“It is a human rights value and the respect of others, namely the right to have access to abortion, should be upheld by all,” she continued.
The victory for Brothers Of Italy marks an extraordinary change in fortunes for the party which took just 4% of the vote in 2018.
The rise in its popularity comes amid rising energy prices and a cost-of-living crisis in Italy, which is gripping much of Europe. Meloni’s right-wing coalition has pledged to alleviate this financial pain without detailing how the plan will be financed.
A lack of cohesion between Italy’s left-leaning parties has also helped propel the centre-right bloc to power.
Implications For Film & TV Sector
Meloni’s arrival in power is expected to impact Italy’s film and TV sector.
Ahead of the elections, Brothers of Italy head of culture and innovation Federico Mollicone teased his party’s plans for the culture sector and promised sweeping reforms focused on strengthening Italy’s sense of national identity.
Early promises included dropping VAT on cultural products to 4% and bolstering state broadcaster Rai and studios Cinecittà so they could compete against global giants on the world stage.
It remains to be seen whether Meloni’s government will tinker with Draghi’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan, which put in place $300m in extra investment for the audiovisual sector for the period running 2021 to 2026.
The bigger concern for the film and TV sector is the Brother of Italy’s attitudes towards LGBTQ rights, immigration and freedom of expression.
In the lead-up to the election, Mollicone led a campaign calling on state broadcaster Rai not to screen an episode of the popular children’s animation series Peppa Pig, featuring a same-sex couple, a pair of co-parenting lesbian polar bears.
The politician was also critical of the screening this year in Venice’s Giornate degli Autori parallel selection of Mark Cousin’s documentary The March On Rome, exploring the rise to power of Mussolini in 1922 and his legacy.
Mollicone and other right-wing politicians complained about the connections the film made between Meloni and Mussolini, saying the timing of the screening broke election campaign rules.
PREVIOUSLY: Far-right politician Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party appeared to be on the cusp of victory in Italy’s general election on Sunday, according to exits polls released shortly after the urns closed at 11 pm local time.
According to exit poll results released on state broadcaster Rai, Brothers of Italy has taken 22- 26% of the vote.
Meloni is expected to form a coalition government with Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia to create one of the most right-wing Italian governments since World War Two.
The exit polls suggest League has taken 8.5-12.5% of the vote, while Forza Italia has taken 6-8%, which would give their coalition around 41-45% of the vote.
The populist, anti-establishment Five Star Movement has come in as the third most popular party with 13.5-17.5% of the vote.
A win for the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia, Fdl) party will signify a political earthquake for Italy and Europe.
The party was created in 2012 by former members of the National Alliance, which in turn was the heir to the Italian Social Movement, a neo-fascist party founded by former members of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party.
Meloni has sought to distance her party from its neo-fascist roots but its populist stance and views on Europe, Russia, gender politics and immigration have raised concerns at home and across Europe.
Italian exit polls are not always 100% accurate and projections due out around midnight are expected to give a more precise idea of the results.
The final official result is expected around 2-3 am in Italy.
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