Italy now has a female prime minister as Giorgia Meloni emerged victorious in the elections on Sunday, September 25.
The country's national election was triggered by party infighting that saw the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government in July.
Voters headed to the polls amid a number of new regulations, with voting hours also contained to one day rather than two.
Addressing the media and supporters in the early hours of Monday morning, September 26, Meloni said it was “a night of pride for many and a night of redemption.”
“It’s a victory I want to dedicate to everyone who is no longer with us and wanted this night,” she said. “Starting tomorrow we have to show our value … Italians chose us, and we will not betray it, as we never have,” she said.
Preliminary results put an alliance of far-right parties, led by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, on track to win at least 44% of the vote, according to the Italian Interior Ministry.
With 63% of votes counted, the ultra-conservative Brothers of Italy party had won at least 26%, with coalition partners, the League, led by Matteo Salvini, taking around 9% and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia scoring over 8%. Final results are expected later Monday, but it’s expected to take weeks for a new government to be formed.
Meloni entered Italy’s crowded political scene in 2006 and co-founded the Brothers of Italy in 2012, a party whose agenda is rooted in Euroskepticism and anti-immigration policies.
A 45-year-old mother from Rome, Meloni is deeply conservative, openly anti-LBGT, and has threatened to place same sex unions, which were legalized in Italy in 2016, under review. She has also called abortion a “tragedy,” raising fears for the future of women’s rights in the country.