For the first time in its history, Italy has elected a female prime minister. But there’s more to it than that.
Context: The collapse of the Mario Draghi-led government in July due to withdrawal of support by coalition partners necessitated a general election.
Giorgia Meloni won big, picking up 26 per cent of the vote, ahead of her closest rival, Enrico Letta.
She is from the Brothers of Italy party, which is part of a right-wing coalition.
She is currently at work deciding who gets to be in her government.
Mainstream press says she is on course to form Italy's most right-wing government since the Second World War.
Unstable Italy. This will be the country’s sixth government since 2014.
When it comes to the challenges of coalition politics, Italy is one of the prime examples.
No Italian government in recent times has lasted a full term.
It is to be seen, therefore, whether the government led by Meloni turns out to be an exception to this trend.
Rising star. Meloni’s party, Brothers of Italy, has gone from a vote share of 4 per cent in 2018 to 26 per cent in 2022.
Together with her coalition partners, Matteo Salvini’s nationalist League and former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, she is expected to have a majority of around 32 to 52 seats in the 400-member lower house.
In the 200-member upper house, she is expected to have a majority of 14-26 seats.
Does she like the EU? Well, she was Eurosceptic earlier, but now that isn’t the case.
So, in case you were wondering whether an “Italeave“ or “Italexit“ is on the cards, it doesn’t seem likely.
But people are expecting Meloni to resist the growing influence of the EU in internal affairs and also challenge the Franco-German hegemony.
The star on the right. Meloni has been hailed as the Italian Marine Le Pen.
Even her vote share jump is similar to that of the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party in Germany.
Meloni’s speech on the threats to the idea of family, country, and religion have earned her fans across the globe.
She is considered to be pro-life, anti-mass immigration, anti-globalisation, and a proud Christian.
She is also a sharp critic of consumerism and financial speculation.
The going will get tough. With inflation in Italy touching above 8 per cent, Meloni’s immediate goal will be to tackle the rising cost of living while ensuring that growth continues.
Psst… this may be useful. Here’s how parliamentary elections are done in Italy.
The Italian electoral law provides for direct universal suffrage through a mixed electoral system, that is, a combination of first past the post and proportional representation.
There is a combined election for the Chamber of Deputies (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House).
While two-thirds of the seats are reserved for proportional representation, only one-third remains for the direct election.
Some seats are reserved for Italians living abroad.
S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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