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Italian Prime Minister Meloni comes out on top in the EU vote and strengthens her position


By Crispian Balmer and Angelo Amante

ROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s arch-conservative Brothers of Italy group won the most votes in this weekend’s European Parliament elections, boosting its standing both at home and abroad.

With almost all ballots counted, the Brothers of Italy have won 28.8% of the vote, more than four times as many as in the last European Union elections in 2019, and more than the 26% they achieved in the national elections of 2022, when the country came 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 now, it is a satisfaction and also a great responsibility” , said Meloni. early Monday from party headquarters.

The opposition centre-left Democratic Party came second with 24% of the vote, while another opposition group, the Five Star Movement, came third with 9.9% – its worst performance nationally since its founding in 2009 .

The EU vote showed that Meloni’s ruling coalition, made up of parties spanning from the centre-right to the far right of the political spectrum, saw its support rise from just under 43% in 2022 to over 47%.

“The results are not given at all. It is a resounding achievement and shows that all parties of the majority have been able to grow together,” Meloni said later in the morning on RTL 102.5 Radio.

“It’s an incentive for (the government) to go further. Italians are giving us a loud and clear message to continue our work… and if possible with more determination.”

Forza Italia, founded by the late Silvio Berlusconiwas in fourth place with 9.7% of the vote, surpassing the Anti-Immigrant League, which had 9.1%, a disappointment for leader Matteo Salvini, who has pushed his party far to the right and antagonized the old guard.

Underscoring tensions in the League, party founder Umberto Bossi voted for Forza Italia this time, his allies told Italian media this weekend, sending a shock through the group.


Meloni’s party has its roots in a neo-fascist group, and its victory in 2022 set the tone for far-right gains across Europe, including in the last EU vote, which saw the continent swing to the right.

However, Meloni has toned down her image on the international stage, dropping her previous anti-EU rhetoric and presenting herself as a bridge between the mainstream center-right and her own national conservative camp, which was previously shunned.

Her strong performance on Sunday was in stark contrast to the setbacks of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose parties were routed.

However, Meloni said on radio that it was too early to say whether she would support a second term for centre-right European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Her group of lawmakers could be decisive if Meloni decides to support von der Leyen, potentially giving Rome leverage over the new EU executive.

“What we need is a Europe that listens to its citizens, that looks more towards the centre-right and pursues more pragmatic and less ideological policies,” Meloni said, adding that given the results, Italy would necessarily play a fundamental role.

Sunday also marked a major success for Meloni’s main opponent, Elly Schlein, who took control of the center-left PD party in 2023 and has struggled to impose her will on the old guard. The PD won 19% of the vote in 2022 and Schlein wanted to improve that.

The far-left Green and Left Alliance won about 6.7%, meaning its candidate, Ilaria Salis, an Italian activist held in Hungary for more than a year for allegedly attacking far-right militants, is now an EU lawmaker.

The only disappointment for all parties was turnout, which was just under 50%, initial data suggested, a record low in a country with historically strong voter participation.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante and Crispian Balmer; additional reporting by Giulia Segreti, Editing by Keith Weir, Bernadette Baum and Shinjini Ganguli)

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