Italian elections

By Michael Dementjevs, Guest Writer

On July 14, a government crisis in Italy arose that was caused by Giuseppe Conte, leader of the Five Star Movement (MS5) political party, who revoked his and the party’s support for Prime Minister Mario Draghi and the national unity government regarding an economic stimulus bill to combat ongoing energy and economic setbacks. Draghi submitted his resignation from office to President Sergio Mattarella that day; Draghi’s resignation was rejected. However, following the secession of support from the Five Star Movement, The League and Forward Italy parties, led to a confidence vote in the Italian Senate that failed to achieve an absolute majority; Draghi submitted his resignation to President Mattarella; his resignation was accepted and was asked to lead in a caretaker government on July 21. On the following day, the Italian parliament was officially dissolved, and a snap election was called for September 25, allowing campaigning to begin. A center-right coalition was soon formed that consisted of center-right to right-wing parties that included: The League, Forward Italy, Union of the Center, Courage Italy, Us with Italy, and Brothers of Italy; it was agreed from all parties that the party that gains the most seats will be the next prime minister.

The Brothers of Italy has been the center of this election with its leader, Giorgia Meloni, running on a platform “God, Country, and Family”, moderating her party from its neo-fascist roots to a more conservative platform.

With record low voter turnout, the center-right coalition won 237 out of the 400 seats within the Chamber of Deputies and 115 in the Senate, with Meloni’s Brothers of Italy gaining 119 seats and 65 seats in the Senate; setting forth for her to become Italy’s first female prime minister, along with leading the first right-wing government since Benito Mussolini rose to power in 1922. In her victory speech, Meloni states, “It’s a victory I want to dedicate to everyone who is no longer with us…Italians chose us, and we will not betray it.” With the center-right coalition winning 43.4% of the popular vote, observers have noted the rise of the far-right within Europe; most notably with gains made by right wing parties in Sweden two weeks before Italy’s election, leading to Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to resign from her position.

Meloni herself is the chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party, conservative political party where the primary focus is on reforming the European Union (EU). Member parties include: Italy’s Brothers of Italy, Sweden’s Swedish Democrats, and Spain’s Vox; notably, these parties in recent elections have made gains in their countries respectfully on platform against the status quo, limiting immigration policies, and fighting increasing crime.

However, the center-right’s victory was not met favorably by the center-left coalition, who won 85 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 44 seats in the Senate with 26.1% of the popular vote. Center-left Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta commented at a news conference “We expect dark days…The Democratic Party will not allow Italy to leave the heart of Europe.” Newly elected members are expected to be sworn in on October 13 with Meloni likely to take office as prime minister.