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Monday 10 June 2024 05:06

Italy premier Meloni's right-wing party tops polls in EU vote

Meloni set for decisive win as Schlein's centre-left PD makes ground and Salvini's right-wing Lega slumps.The right-wing Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) party of Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni has topped the polls in the European elections in Italy over the weekend, results showed on Monday.FdI is on track to secure more than 28 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls, more than the 26 per cent it received when Meloni came to power with a right-wing coalition in October 2022. The result is even more resounding when compared to the outcome of the last European elections in 2019 when Meloni's party took just six per cent of the vote. In a post on X in the early hours of Monday, Meloni wrote: "THANK YOU! Fratelli d'Italia confirms itself as the leading Italian party, surpassing the result of the last political elections." In addition to cementing her political dominance in Italy, the result positions Meloni as a kingmaker in deciding the balance of power in the EU. The centre-left Partito Democratico party is in second place on around 24 per cent, exit polls showed, strengthening the hand of the new leader Elly Schlein who welcomed the "extraordinary" outcome. Schlein also noted that the result narrows the gap between the FdI and the PD which secured 22 per cent in the EU elections in 2019. There was a poor showing for the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S), led by former premier Giuseppe Conte, in third place with a projected result of around 10 per cent, down from 17 per cent in 2019. Conte told reporters that the party would meet to reflect on the "very disappointing" result, the worst at a nationwide level since its foundation in 2009. There was good news for Meloni's centre-right ally Forza Italia, led by deputy premier Antonio Tajani, which is set to take around 10 per cent of the vote (up from eight per cent in 2019). Celebrating the result, Tajani paid tribute to the party's founder Silvio Berlusconi in the first nationwide vote since his death one year ago. The news was far from good for the government's other coalition party, the right-wing Lega led by deputy premier Matteo Salvini, which is on track to get about nine per cent. This outcome would represent a major fall from the 34 per cent the party achieved in 2019 when it topped the polls.  Salvini had hoped for a big increase in support by running a celebrity candidate, a suspended army general known for his controversial, far-right views. However despite General Vannacci being elected with more than half a million votes, the party had a poor showing. The result also came the day after Umberto Bossi, the founder of the Lega Nord (which became the Lega under Salvini in 2013), made the bombshell announcement that he was voting for Forza Italia. Salvini tried to put a brave face on the results, saying on Sunday night: "For the last year everyone had been writing us off as dead but we are alive and well". The left-wing Green and Left Alliance (AVS) won more than six per cent, taking it over the line, however the centrist parties of Matteo Renzi and Carlo Calenda - the Stati Uniti d'Europa and Azione respectively - failed to meet the required four per cent electoral threshold.   Voter turn-out in Italy was a record low 49.69 per cent, according to data from the Italian interior ministry, the first time the figure has dropped below 50 per cent.

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The right-wing Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) party of Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni has topped the polls in the European elections in Italy over the weekend, results showed on Monday. FdI is on track to secure more than 28 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls, more than the 26 per cent it received when Meloni came to power with a right-wing coalition
in October 2022
. The result is even more resounding when compared to the outcome of the last European elections in 2019 when Meloni's party took just six per cent of the vote. In a post on X in the early hours of Monday, Meloni wrote: "THANK YOU! Fratelli d'Italia confirms itself as the leading Italian party, surpassing the result of the last political elections." In addition to cementing her political dominance in Italy, the result positions Meloni as a kingmaker in deciding the balance of power in the EU. The centre-left Partito Democratico party is in second place on around 24 per cent, exit polls showed, strengthening the hand of the new leader
Elly Schlein
 who welcomed the "extraordinary" outcome. Schlein also noted that the result narrows the gap between the FdI and the PD which secured 22 per cent in the EU elections in 2019. There was a poor showing for the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S), led by former premier Giuseppe Conte, in third place with a projected result of around 10 per cent, down from 17 per cent in 2019. Conte told reporters that the party would meet to reflect on the "very disappointing" result, the worst at a nationwide level since its foundation in 2009. There was good news for Meloni's centre-right ally Forza Italia, led by deputy premier Antonio Tajani, which is set to take around 10 per cent of the vote (up from eight per cent in 2019). Celebrating the result, Tajani paid tribute to the 
party's founder Silvio Berlusconi
 in the first nationwide vote since his death one year ago. The news was far from good for the government's other coalition party, the right-wing Lega led by deputy premier Matteo Salvini, which is on track to get about nine per cent. This outcome would represent a major fall from the 34 per cent the party achieved in 2019 when it topped the polls.  Salvini had hoped for a big increase in support by running a celebrity candidate, a suspended army general known for his controversial, far-right views. However despite 
General Vannacci
being elected with more than half a million votes, the party had a poor showing. The result also came the day after Umberto Bossi, the founder of the Lega Nord (which became the Lega under Salvini in 2013), made the bombshell announcement that he was voting for Forza Italia. Salvini tried to put a brave face on the results, saying on Sunday night: "For the last year everyone had been writing us off as dead but we are alive and well".
The left-wing Green and Left Alliance (AVS) won more than six per cent, taking it over the line, however the centrist parties of Matteo Renzi and Carlo Calenda - the Stati Uniti d'Europa and Azione respectively - failed to meet the required four per cent electoral threshold.
 
Voter turn-out in Italy was a record low 49.69 per cent, according to data from the Italian interior ministry, the first time the figure has dropped below 50 per cent.
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