Giorgia Meloni's Triumph: A Resounding Victory in European Elections

Giorgia Meloni's arch-conservative Brothers of Italy won the most votes in the European parliamentary election, enhancing her political standing both domestically and internationally. With 96% of the ballots counted, the party secured 28.8% of the vote, significantly surpassing its 2019 and 2022 performances. Meloni's success further consolidates her coalition's power.

Reuters | Updated: 10-06-2024 12:15 IST | Created: 10-06-2024 12:15 IST
Giorgia Meloni's Triumph: A Resounding Victory in European Elections
Giorgia Meloni

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's arch-conservative Brothers of Italy group won the most votes in the European parliamentary election over the weekend, results showed, boosting her standing both at home and abroad. With 96% of the ballots counted, Brothers of Italy won 28.8%of the vote, more than four times what it took in the last EU election in 2019 and exceeding the 26% it secured in the 2022 national ballot, when it rose to power.

"I am proud that Italy will present itself to the G7, to Europe with the strongest government of all. This is something that has not happened in the past but is happening today, it is a satisfaction and also a great responsibility," Meloni said early on Monday from the party's headquarters. The opposition centre-left Democratic Party came in second with 24%, while another opposition group, the 5-Star Movement, was third with 9.9% of the vote -- its worst showing at a countrywide level since its creation in 2009.

The EU ballot indicated that Meloni's ruling coalition, made up of parties that stretch from the centre-right to the far-right of the political spectrum, had seen its support edge up to more than 47% from just under 43% in 2022. "I am proud that the majority governing this nation has been able to grow together. This is an extremely important thing for me and for us. The message from Italians is: 'Go ahead'.. and if possible with greater determination," Meloni said.

Forza Italia, founded by the late Silvio Berlusconi, was in fourth place with 9.7%, surpassing the anti-immigrant League, which had 9.1% of the vote, pressuring leader Matteo Salvini who has pushed his party hard right, antagonising its old guard. Underscoring tensions in the League, party founder Umberto Bossi voted Forza Italia this time around, his allies told Italian media at the weekend, sending a jolt through the group.

MELONI STRENGTH Meloni's party traces its roots back to a neo-fascist group and her 2022 victory set the tone for far-right gains across Europe, including in this latest EU ballot, which has seen the continent swing right.

However, Meloni has moderated her image on the international stage, dropping her previous anti-EU rhetoric and presenting herself as a bridge between the mainstream centre-right and her own national conservative camp, which was previously shunned. Her strong showing on Sunday came in stark contrast to setbacks suffered by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose parties were both routed.

Meloni's group of lawmakers might also prove decisive if she decides to back the centre-right European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a second term, potentially giving Rome leverage over the new EU executive. Sunday also represented a big success for Meloni's main opponent -- Elly Schlein, who took charge of the centre-left PD party in 2023 and had struggled to impose her will on the old guard. The PD won 19% in 2022 and Schlein was anxious to improve on that.

The hard left Green and Left Alliance won around 6.8%, meaning that its candidate, Ilaria Salis, an Italian activist detained in Hungary for more than a year for allegedly assaulting far-right militants, is now an EU lawmaker. The one disappointment for all parties was the turnout, which came in at just below 50%, initial data suggested, a record low in a country that has had historically strong voter participation.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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