Italian election winners aim for rare political stability

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  • The right-wing coalition enjoys an absolute majority in both houses
  • Maloney was the country’s first female Prime Minister
  • League leader says government will remain stable
  • The government is not expected to be sworn in for several weeks
  • Low turnout casts a shadow over the results

ROME, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The right-wing coalition that won Italy’s national election will usher in a rare era of political stability to tackle a series of problems besieging the euro zone’s third-largest economy, a senior official said on Monday.

Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first female prime minister since World War II, is set to head a far-right government after her conservative coalition won an election on Sunday.

“I expect that for at least five years we will prioritize the things we need to do without any changes, without any twists,” said Matteo Salvini, head of the League party, one of Meloni’s brothers’ main allies. Italy.

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The right-wing coalition, which also includes Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, should have an absolute majority in both houses of parliament, ending years of insurgency and fragile coalitions, the final results showed.

This is the result of a breakthrough for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats in this month’s election and a recent victory for the right in Europe after a breakthrough national rally in France in June.

Maloney plays down his party’s post-fascist roots and portrays it as a mainstream group like Britain’s Conservatives. He has pledged to support Western policy on Ukraine and not take risks with Italy’s fragile finances.

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Meloni, who has spoken out against the “LGBT lobby” and mass immigration, struck a conciliatory tone in his victory speech early Monday morning.

“If we are called to govern this nation, for all Italians, with the aim of uniting people, let us focus on what divides us instead of what divides us,” he told cheering supporters. “It’s time to be responsible.”

A difficult inheritance

Meloni and his allies face a daunting list of challenges, including rising energy prices, the war in Ukraine and a renewed slowdown in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.

His coalition government, Italy’s 68th since 1946, is unlikely to be installed by the end of October and Prime Minister Mario Draghi now heads a caretaker administration.

Despite the talk of stability, Maloney’s coalition is divided on some of the most pressing issues that will be difficult to reconcile once in government.

Draghi, a former president of the European Central Bank, has pushed Rome to the center of EU policymaking, building closer ties with Paris and Berlin during his 18-month tenure.

In Europe, the first to congratulate Meloni’s victory were the hard-right opposition parties in Spain and France and the national conservative governments of Poland and Hungary, both of which have strained relations with Brussels.

Salvini has questioned Western sanctions against Russia, and he and Berlusconi have often expressed their admiration for its leader, Vladimir Putin.

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Allies have differing views on how to deal with rising energy bills and have made many promises, including tax cuts and pension reforms, that Italy will struggle to afford.

With results counted in more than 97% of polling stations, Italy’s brothers led with more than 26% of the vote, up from just 4% in the national election in 2018, making the League a driving force on the right.

The League took just 9%, up from 17% four years ago, but despite the relatively low scores, Salvini said he would stay on as party leader. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia scored 8%.

Center-left and centrist parties won more votes than the right, but were penalized by an electoral law that rewards broad coalitions. The leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, announced his resignation as president.

Despite its clear conclusion, the vote was not a resounding endorsement of the right group. Voter turnout was just 64%, down from 73% four years ago — a low in a country with historically strong voter participation.

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Elisa Ansolin reports this story from Milan. Additional reporting by Keith Weir, Crispian Palmer, Angelo Amante, Gavin Jones and Alves Armellini in Rome; Editing by Crispian Palmer and Nick MacPhee

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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