| 6 December 2022, Tuesday |

Meloni tipped to be prime minister as Italians vote

On Sunday, Italians voted in an election that is expected to restore the country’s most right-wing administration since World War II and pave the way for Giorgia Meloni to become the country’s first female prime minister.

When the most recent opinion polls were released two weeks ago, a right-wing alliance led by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party looked to be on course for a resounding triumph.

However, with a polling blackout in effect for the two weeks leading up to the election, there is still room for a surprise.

The polls opened at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will remain open until 11 p.m. (2100 GMT), when exit polls will be released.

However, due to the complicated computations required by a hybrid proportional/first-past-the-post electoral procedure, the composition of a new slimmed-down parliament may not be known for many hours.

“Long live democracy,” exclaimed Matteo Salvini, the League party’s leader and one of Meloni’s biggest backers, when he voted in Milan on Sunday morning.

Meloni would be the obvious candidate for prime minister as leader of an alliance that also features former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.

Berlusconi, 85, also voted in Milan, wearing one of his typical double-breasted suits. Meloni was expected to vote in her home city of Rome later in the day.

A resident of Rome said he was hoping the right would win.

“The left, from what I hear, has no serious manifesto and the parties are on their own, whereas the right at least has a coalition,” said the voter, who gave his name as Paolo.

According to preliminary estimates, turnout was about 19% around noon local time, roughly in line with the 2018 national election. Following a low-key summer campaign, there had been anticipation that a big percentage of Italians might choose not to vote.

Even if a clear winner emerges, the future administration is unlikely to take office before late October, as the new parliament does not convene until Oct. 13.

  • Reuters