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Italy’s Meloni is at the top of the polls as the third day of the EU elections arrives

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is well ahead of her rivals in the polls as Italians, Estonians, Latvians, Maltese, Czechs and Slovaks vote in Saturday’s European Parliament elections.

Meloni could be ready to act as kingmaker for the next president of the European Commission if her Brothers of Italy (FdI) make big gains.

Incumbent Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has openly courted Meloni in the hope of winning the confirmation votes of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, a pan-European soft-Eurosceptic bloc that Meloni now leads and whose FdI candidates strive to join if they are elected as Members of the European Parliament.

As the EU’s third most populous country, Italy can send a total of 76 deputies to the 720-seat European Parliament, giving anyone who makes big gains there a powerful position at EU level.

According to a poll compiled by the news website Politico, the conservative FdI is in first place with 27%, six points ahead of the center-left Democratic Party.

Saturday is the third day of four in the EU-wide elections, with different countries voting on different days. It’s election day for Latvia, Malta and Slovakia; the second and final day of voting for the Czech Republic, and the first of two for Italy and Estonia.

The left-wing nationalist Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico emerged fighting on Wednesday after surviving a May 15 assassination attempt that shocked Europe. Fico was shot multiple times in an attack that appears to have been politically motivated.

The recovering prime minister published a video on Wednesday saying that “an activist of the Slovak opposition” had committed the attempt on his life,” adding that there was no reason to believe the attack was the act of a ” lonely fool’.

Fico’s party SMER leads in the polls with 23%, two points ahead of the liberal Progressive Slovakia party.

The first preliminary results indicating the composition of the next European Parliament will come late Sunday evening, after every member of the 27-nation bloc has voted. These will be updated in the early hours of Monday.

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