The result could not be clearer: Italian voters have strongly supported the extreme right of the Brothers of Italy at the polls. Giorgia Meloni has unquestionably won the early Italian elections, with around 26.4% of the vote, well above the second candidate, the Democratic Party, which is holding back around 19%. Her victory is historic because everything indicates that she is going to lead the most right-wing government since the Second World War in Italy, the third largest economy in Europe and a founding country of the EU.

“The Italians have given a clear indication from the polls, and the indication is for a right-wing government with the guidance of the Brothers of Italy,” celebrated Meloni, from a huge hotel in the Italian capital rented especially to house the international press that has traveled here to follow the new star of the European extreme right. She was quickly congratulated by her continental allies, starting with the Hungarian Viktor Orb├ín or the Pole Mateusz Morawiecki.

The entire right-wing coalition bloc has achieved around 44% of the vote, so that, hand in hand with the League, Forza Italia and other minority parties, Meloni will be able to count on an absolute majority in both parliamentary chambers thanks to the electoral law made in 2017 to shore up bipartisanship.

“If we are called to lead this nation, we will do it for everyone, for all Italians and we will do it with the aim of uniting the people of this country,” he promised, in a very measured tone. “If we want to be part of history, we must understand the responsibility we have towards tens of millions of people. Italy has chosen us – she continued – and we will not betray the country as we have never done”.

The far-right is not going to form a government automatically, but in Italy it is the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who has the power to choose who to entrust with forming a government. But with these clear results it would be very difficult to understand that the head of state was going in a different direction than Meloni. All of this will not be immediate but will first have to wait for the meeting of the new Chambers, the election of their presidents and the beginning of the consultations with Mattarella. The most normal thing would be for the next Italian right-wing government to be installed at the end of October or beginning of November.

The result for the general secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), Enrico Letta, is very disappointing. Although it is slightly better than the 18.7% they obtained four years ago, they have not even been able to mobilize the Italians by stirring up fear against Meloni and a “retrograde” extreme right, something on which they had based their campaign. Letta will appear this morning at 11 to assess the results. Surely there will be an important reflection given that until a few weeks ago he was fighting with Meloni for leadership in the polls.

The other big loser of the night, without a doubt, is Matteo Salvini. The League, which in 2018 obtained 17% of the votes and in 2019 swept the Europeans with 34%, has stopped at around 9% of the votes. The game had been marked 10% as a catastrophe. He has been swept away without any doubt by the leadership of Meloni, who the Italians see as more responsible and also more credible after having stood in opposition to Mario Draghi. Not even the League, once an autonomist party, is already the first party in the north of the country. It has lost its historic fort. Salvini’s leadership is now more fragile than ever. He has also summoned the press at 11 in the morning to respond to public opinion.

The last partner of the coalition, Silvio Berlusconi, has resisted by around 8%, and Il Cavaliere is satisfied because he knows that he will be able to influence the next Italian government. It is what he has always wanted: to be able to rule in the shadows and try to make Meloni, whom he will never stop looking down on, have to count on him for important decisions. He is still alive politically, although his margin to impose ministers will be narrow. Now discussions will begin in the coalition to design the architecture of the next executive.

Brothers of Italy is the most voted list in almost all schools in the center and north of the country, while the 5 Star Movement (M5E) has prevailed in the south of the country with its defense of citizen income, a subsidy to unemployed who mainly receive in the southern part of Italy. It is a blow to self-esteem for Giuseppe Conte, the former prime minister who in July did not even control his parliamentary group and the party seemed doomed to extinction. Thanks to a good campaign strategy in which the south of the country has been covered in shirt sleeves, he has managed to come third, with over 15% of the votes.

“The PD has the greatest political responsibility for the victory of the right, because it has closed the doors to the M5E, opening them to everyone and then remaining alone with a lousy management of alliances and coalitions”, has attacked the vice president of the M5E, Riccardo Ricciardi, arm Conte’s right, remembering that Letta was closed to negotiating with the grillini after they overthrew the Draghi Executive.

The night is also sad for Luigi Di Maio. In 2018 he won the elections with 32% of the votes from the same hotel where the leaders of the Brothers of Italy spent the night today. He was now running with his own party, within the leftist coalition, after having left the M5E considering it too ambiguous with Russia, but he has not been able to win the seat he aspired to in Naples and will stay out of Parliament.

All in elections that, between the rain and the little interest that the campaign has aroused, have had the lowest turnout in the history of Italy. The final participation data confirms the apathy of Italians for these elections: only 64% of those called to the polls have voted, ten points less than in 2018. The country arrived at the polls exhausted, after years of discontent popular that has deep roots. Inequalities are strong, also between the north and south of the country. The electoral campaign began while the Italians were still in the beach bars, and it has become extremely long at a time of social anxiety due to the increase in electricity bills, prices in the supermarket or the uncertainty of a winter that black is expected. Now it will be the turn of all this to be managed by the extreme right of Giorgia Meloni. That she already warns: “It is the time of responsibility.”