Italy’s right-wing coalition won big in key regional elections in Lombardy and Lazio — while Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s position strengthened compared to her ruling partners.
Italy’s Meloni Brothers topped Lombardy with nearly 25 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results, surpassing its right-wing partner League, which won 16 percent in its northern stronghold, and Forza Italia with 8 percent.
Lombardy’s current governor, Attilio Fontana from the League – who was the right-wing candidate and backed by the coalition – won a comfortable re-election with more than 50 percent of the vote, while Socialist MEP Pierfrancesco Majorino, who was backed by the opposition, won. The establishment 5Star Movement, came in a distant second with about 33 percent.
Italy’s largest and wealthiest region, Lombardy has historically been a right-wing heartland and, although Fontana’s results topped the polls during the election campaign, there were few doubts he would win an easy second mandate.
The result in Lazio, whose territory includes Rome, arguably comes as a major blow to the left, which has ruled the region for the past 10 years. Meloni’s team won 34 percent in Lazio, while alliance partners League and Forza Italia got 6 and 5 percent of the vote respectively.
Right-wing candidate for governor Francesco Rocca, a former president of the Italian Red Cross and an ally of Meloni, came in first with just under 50 percent of the vote. The Democratic Party and 5 Star ran two separate candidates, but the move turned out to be a tactical blunder, splitting the left-wing vote and paving the way for a right-wing landslide.
The leaderless left-wing Democratic Party, currently undergoing a leadership election, struggled with an anonymous and reluctant election campaign in both regions, although the party’s actual performance was not as bad as many had feared.
“This result consolidates the centre-right compactness and strengthens the work of the government,” Melony wrote on Twitter.
The Brothers of Italy’s performance strengthened Meloni’s hand against his coalition partners, League leader and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and Berlusconi.
Both elections saw low turnouts – 37.1 percent in Lazio and 41.6 percent in Lombardy.