Friday, December 9

Italy general election 2022: voting enters final hours – live | Italy


Pope Francis has chosen today to remind us all of his strong belief in the importance of welcoming and nurturing refugees and migrants.

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My colleague Lorenzo Tondo reports that, at the end of an open-air mass in the city of Matera earlier today, the pope said:

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“Migrants are to be welcomed, accompanied, promoted and integrated. Let us renew our commitment to building the future in accordance with God’s plan: a future in which migrants and refugees may live in peace and with dignity.

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Francis made no direct reference to the election, adds Lorenzo, but his message “rang loud and clear.”

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Migration has been a central theme in the electoral campaign of extreme right parties, led by the leader of Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, who once said Italians needed to “repatriate the migrants back to their countries and then sink the boats that rescued them”.

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He adds:

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Meloni… said that if she becomes prime minister, she intends to put in place a naval blockade in the Mediterranean to stop migration to Italy.

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Good evening, buonasera and welcome to all who are following tonight’s Italian election results. I’m Lizzy Davies and I – along with Guardian colleagues Angela Giuffrida and Lorenzo Tondo in Italy – will be bringing you all the latest from this potentially landmark vote.

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If we are to believe the polls, this election is likely to produce the most rightwing government Italy has had since the second world war. A coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, a party with neofascist origins, is tipped to secure a sizeable victory in both houses of parliament while taking between 44 and 47% of the vote.

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If that happens, Meloni, 45, is the frontrunner to become prime minister – Italy’s first far-right leader since Benito Mussolini. Not that she likes the comparison, of course. Meloni has insisted that the Italian right consigned fascism to history decades ago, and has compared Brothers of Italy to the UK Tory party and the US Republicans.

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Of course, the polls aren’t always right, and on Friday Enrico Letta, leader of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD), urged supporters to make a final push, declaring: “A comeback is possible.”

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But is it, really? Stay tuned to find out.

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Key events

Pope urges Italians to welcome refugees

Pope Francis has chosen today to remind us all of his strong belief in the importance of welcoming and nurturing refugees and migrants.

My colleague Lorenzo Tondo reports that, at the end of an open-air mass in the city of Matera earlier today, the pope said:

“Migrants are to be welcomed, accompanied, promoted and integrated. Let us renew our commitment to building the future in accordance with God’s plan: a future in which migrants and refugees may live in peace and with dignity.

Francis made no direct reference to the election, adds Lorenzo, but his message “rang loud and clear.”

Migration has been a central theme in the electoral campaign of extreme right parties, led by the leader of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, who once said Italians needed to “repatriate the migrants back to their countries and then sink the boats that rescued them”.

He adds:

Meloni… said that if she becomes prime minister, she intends to put in place a naval blockade in the Mediterranean to stop migration to Italy.

Some nuts and bolts about tonight.

We expect exit polls shortly after voting closes at 11pm local time (10pm UK time). Caution: while these were pretty accurate in 2018’s general election, they have not always proved reliable.

The first projections (based on partial results) for the senate (upper house) should start to come in from 11.50pm local time, according to Ansa. You’ll have to wait a bit longer for the same projections for the lower house, however: they’re expected around 2am.

My colleague Jon Henley has written this helpful explainer of the election here, including a reminder of how we got here (the populist Five Star Movement pulled the plug on Mario Draghi’s coalition in July).

Key points:

  • There are 400 seats up for grabs in the lower house and 200 in the senate- a much smaller parliament, all told, than before. (The Italians voted in a 2020 referendum to cut the number of parliamentarians from more than 900 to 600.)

  • The rightwing coalition, led by the Brothers of Italy, includes Matteo Salvini’s far-right League, and the rightwing Forza Italia, led by young rising star Silvio Berlusconi.

  • The PD, the main centre-left party, is running with the support of some minor, leftwing, pro-European and green parties. The M5S is running alone, led by the former prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

If you want to get a flavor of Giorgia Meloni’s political style, here’s her election day Instagram post.

“September 25th. Enough said,” she says, looking deeply into the camera and winking. She also happens to be carrying a pair of melons… because melons, meloni, geddit?

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If you want to get more of a sense of Meloni the politician, have a read of this by my colleague Angela Giuffrida who visited Garbatella, the neighborhood of Rome where Meloni grew up, and went to see what used to be the local branch of the neofascist Italian Social Movement (MSI)’s youth wing.

Undeterred by the at times violent confrontations between young left and rightwing militants in the early 1990s, and the messages to “kill the fascists” daubed on the walls of Garbatella, Meloni knocked on its door aged 15 and signed up,” writes Angela.

Those in the neighborhood who have recollections of the young Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party emerged from the National Alliance, a descendant of MSI, say the toxic political atmosphere at the time was formative.”

It’s election day in Italy

Lizzie Davies

Good evening, buonasera and welcome to all who are following tonight’s Italian election results. I’m Lizzy Davies and I – along with Guardian colleagues Angela Giuffrida and Lorenzo Tondo in Italy – will be bringing you all the latest from this potentially landmark vote.

If we are to believe the polls, this election is likely to produce the most rightwing government Italy has had since the second world war. A coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, a party with neofascist origins, is tipped to secure a sizeable victory in both houses of parliament while taking between 44 and 47% of the vote.

If that happens, Meloni, 45, is the frontrunner to become prime minister – Italy’s first far-right leader since Benito Mussolini. Not that she likes the comparison, of course. Meloni has insisted that the Italian right consigned fascism to history decades ago, and she has compared the Brothers of Italy to the UK Tory party and the US Republicans.

Of course, the polls aren’t always right, and on Friday Enrico Letta, leader of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD), urged supporters to make a final push, declaring: “A comeback is possible.”

But is it, really? Stay tuned to find out.




www.theguardian.com

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