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Italian far-right calls for election as Draghi reign teeters on brink

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5-Star Movement lawmaker Maria Domenica Castellone in the Senate, in Rome, on Thursday. The stability of Italian Premier Mario Draghi's coalition government is at risk because 5-Star lawmakers say they will not participate in a confidence vote in Parliament. Photo: Gregorio Borgia / AP Photo

5-Star Movement lawmaker Maria Domenica Castellone in the Senate, in Rome, on Thursday. The stability of Italian Premier Mario Draghi's coalition government is at risk because 5-Star lawmakers say they will not participate in a confidence vote in Parliament. Photo: Gregorio Borgia / AP Photo

5-Star Movement lawmaker Maria Domenica Castellone in the Senate, in Rome, on Thursday. The stability of Italian Premier Mario Draghi's coalition government is at risk because 5-Star lawmakers say they will not participate in a confidence vote in Parliament. Photo: Gregorio Borgia / AP Photo

The standard-bearer of the Italian fascist party has called for an immediate election with polls showing that she is the frontrunner as the government teeters on the brink of collapse.

Italians might soon be going to the polls after Mario Draghi, the prime minister, submitted his resignation on Thursday night after losing the support of his coalition party.

Sergio Mattarella, the president, rejected his resignation, ordering him instead to address parliament on Wednesday, at which point he could call an early election, a move that could benefit Giorgia Meloni, the 45-year-old far-right leader.

“With Draghi’s resignation... this legislature is over,” Ms Meloni, the Brothers of Italy leader, wrote on Facebook. “This parliament no longer represents Italians... Elections now.”

Ms Meloni has led her party, seen as a descendant of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, to popularity over the past two years, topping the polls with a domestic stance that has played on anti-immigration, and a push against civil unions for and adoption by homosexuals.

“In the event of an election, it is very likely that a centre-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni could emerge victorious,”
said Valerio Alfonso Bruno, a fellow at the Centre for European Futures.

In a country that has seen a shift towards right-wing rhetoric, Ms Meloni’s patriotic and conservative stance has led to a surge in supporters.

“As for policies, they are likely to be along the lines of a strong conservatism that may in time lend itself well to a gradual ‘mainstreaming’ of far-right conceptions and ideologies,” Mr Bruno said.

Ms Meloni getting the top job could further shift the wobbly dynamic within the right-wing coalition.

And it could come at the expense of Matteo Salvini, the Northern League leader, whose popularity has taken
a nosedive.

A poll by Demopolis showed that 65pc of Italians want Mr Draghi (74) to lead the country until the end of his term while 28pc say that they prefer a snap election after the summer. The remaining 7pc are undecided.

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Mr Draghi, whose government is on the brink of collapse after the Five Star Movement refused to take part in a parliamentary confidence vote on Thursday, was asked by Mr Mattarella to call a fresh confidence vote in parliament next week.


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