Giorgia Meloni Wins Voting in Italy, in Breakthrough for Europe’s Hard Right
Italy turned a page of European history on Sunday by electing a hard-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni, whose long record of bashing the European Union, international bankers and migrants has sown concern about the nation’s reliability in the Western alliance.
Results released early Monday showed that Ms. Meloni, the leader of the nationalist Brothers of Italy, a party descended from the remnants of fascism, had led a right-wing coalition to a majority in Parliament, defeating a fractured left and a resurgent anti-establishment movement.
It will still be weeks before the new Italian Parliament is seated and a new government is formed, leaving plenty of time for political machinations and horse trading in a coalition with major differences. But Ms. Meloni’s strong showing, with about 26 percent of the vote, the highest of any single party, makes her the prohibitive favorite to become the country’s first female prime minister.
While she is a strong supporter of Ukraine, her coalition partners deeply admire Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, and have criticized sanctions against Russia.
“From the Italians has arrived a clear indication,” Ms. Meloni, known for her crescendoing rhetoric and cult of personality, said in a victory speech at nearly 3 a.m., “for the center-right to guide Italy.”
After saying she had suffered through a “violent electoral campaign” filled with unfair attacks, Ms. Meloni spoke about “reciprocal respect” and recreating “trust in the institutions.” She posed flashing a victory sign. “We are at the starting point,” she said, adding, “Italy chose us, and we will never betray it.”
The victory, in an election with lower turnout than usual, comes as formerly taboo and marginalized parties with Nazi or fascist heritages are entering the mainstream — and winning elections — across Europe.
This month, a hard-right group founded by neo-Nazis and skinheads became the largest party in Sweden’s likely governing coalition. In France this year, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen — for a second consecutive time — reached the final round of presidential elections. In Spain, the hard-right Vox, a party closely aligned with Ms. Meloni, is surging.