Italian Prime Minister Meloni is receiving a domestic, European boost from his victory in the EU elections


ROME (AP) — Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right party has won Italy’s European elections with a strong 28% of the vote, cementing its leadership at home and consolidating its role as a kingmaker in Europe.

Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party confirmed its status as the country’s most popular party and even improved its performance from the 26% it won in the 2022 general election, according to projections by state broadcaster RAI based on almost 70% of the vote. counted votes.

The victory in the Italian elections for representatives of the European Parliament gives Meloni a boost after almost two years in power, especially at the expense of her government partners in Rome.

In particular, Matteo Salvini’s hard-right League emerged as one of the biggest losers in the EU vote. After coming first in the 2019 EU elections, with more than 34% of the vote, the League received just 8.5% this time, behind its once junior ally Forza Italia, which polled more than 9%.

For the opposition, the main center-left Democratic Party received 24.5%, followed by the populist Five Star Movement, which received just 10.5%, a seven-point drop from the 2019 election.

Meloni, who personalized her election campaign by betting on her personal “brand”, has now positioned herself as one of the most powerful figures in the EU, where far-right parties made big gains and inflicted stunning defeats on two of the bloc’s most important leaders. : French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“I am proud that we are on our way to the G7 and to Europe with the strongest government of all,” Meloni said early Monday, commenting on the election results at her party’s headquarters.

She called the outcome “extraordinary” and vowed to use it as “fuel” for the future.

Despite solid popular support, Meloni’s conservative government needs a strong mandate to tackle the challenges ahead, especially given the fragile state of Italy’s public finances and the prospect of a difficult 2025 budget.

“I think Meloni will come out of these elections stronger, first of all because this is a government that has not lost the consensus, which is quite unique in Europe,” said Giovanni Orsina, director of the government school at LUISS University in Rome .

“Second, with the growth of far-right parties, Meloni finds herself in a crucial position between the far right and the European People’s Party,” he added.

Based on the latest forecasts, Meloni’s party will gain 23 to 25 seats in the European Parliament, compared to six after the 2019 elections, when the party was only a small opposition party.

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