• Sunday September 25, the Italians are called to the polls on the occasion of the legislative elections organized after the fall of the Draghi government this summer.

  • Leading the polls is far-right candidate Giorgia Meloni, who forms a right-wing coalition with Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi.

  • On the occasion of this election of great importance in Europe, "20 Minutes" traveled to Rome to sound out the Italians about their fears and their hopes as the vote approaches.

In Rome, in this month of September, tourists are hurrying to succeed in visiting as many monuments as possible despite the pouring rain.

They crowd into the buses without noticing the posters that decorate them… and which are nevertheless worth the detour.

On a pink background, Lega candidate Matteo Salvini strikes a pose next to striking slogans.

“IVA zero on pane, pasta, riso, latte fruitta e verdura”.

Understand: “Zero VAT on bread, pasta, rice, milk, fruit and vegetables”.

Below, it reads: "Credo che nessun italiano vada lasciato indietro", which means "I believe that no Italian should be left behind".

Because in Italy, an important deadline is also hurrying.

This Sunday, September 25, citizens are called to the polls on the occasion of new legislative elections.

They were organized in an emergency with the fall of the Draghi government in July, rejected by several parties.

“It's not a surprise at all.

We knew there were tensions within the majority,” says Marcello, who works at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a United Nations body located in the heart of Rome.

A hasty election

What is most surprising, according to Marcello, is the date chosen for these elections.

“The legislature was going to end in March 2023, but they decided to bring down the government six months before the natural close”.

A surprise, but also a disappointment for Lucia *, a student at a university in the capital.

“I am angry because there was not enough time between the fall of the Draghi government and the elections.

The political forces could not organize themselves during the summer, and the left could not campaign”.

If the student is so afraid, it is because Italy is experiencing a fragile political context.

At the top of the polls, with 24.4% of the vote, we find the far-right candidate - often considered post-fascist - Giorgia Meloni and her Fratelli d'Italia party.


have a good chance of winning the election via a right-wing coalition led by former Council President Silvio Berlusconi (Forza Italia) and Matteo Salvini, again him, at the head of the Lega.

Very noticed, the campaign of Giorgia Meloni was punctuated by the representation of traditional values, in particular on the family.

But also by its euroscepticism.

Meloni reviews her copy

If the rest of Europe sees in this probable victory the shadow of an “Italexit”, the Italians prefer to remain optimistic.

“I'm pretty sure that if the right wins, Italy will stay in the European Union.

Right-wing forces are not as anti-system as they show.

They are totally integrated into the neoliberal model, it's just a mask,” reassures Lucia.

Beside her, one of her professors, Antonio*, hopes that his country will not forget the historic relationship with Europe.

“Italy is one of the founding countries of the European community, it's hard to imagine it becoming like Poland or Hungary.

There are more cultural, historical but also economic and industrial relations between Italy, France and Germany”.

For his part, Marcello thinks that the Italian Parliament will block an Italexit project anyway.

“The sovereignist right will just have the ambition to put Italy at the center of politics”, imagines the FAO employee, taking the example of the economic crisis that the country is undergoing linked in part to the Covid-19 pandemic.

If they are so confident, it is also because Giorgia Meloni has clearly softened her program since the start of the campaign, especially on international issues, explains researcher Giulia Sandri, professor at Espol Lille.

"She doesn't want to scare voters."

A change favored by the international context, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis affecting Europe.

“Giorgia Meloni, for example, has become favorable to European sanctions against Moscow,” quotes Giulia Sandri, unlike her “ally” Matteo Salvini.

“Do the sanctions work?


To this day, those who have been sanctioned are winners, while those who have implemented the sanctions are on their knees,” the Lega leader tweeted during the summer.

The left in trouble

According to the researcher, this adjustment to Giorgia Meloni's speech put the opposing camp, the left-wing coalition led by the Democratic Party (PD) of Enrico Letta, in difficulty.

“It paid off to destabilize the left, because the Democratic Party built its entire electoral campaign against the danger of fascism.

The change”, regrets the student, who thinks of voting for the Popular Union (Unione popolare) – a small party located on the far left.

“It's more a vote of conviction than a useful vote”.

It must be said that on the side of the voters, the left-wing coalition does not seem to measure up to Meloni's success.

Lucia, for example, sees the Democratic Party as a sort of carbon copy of the right-wing coalition.

"This party has also done terrible things in Italy, especially in terms of the migration crisis", regrets the student, who thinks she will vote for the Popular Union (Unione popolare) - a small party located on the far left.

“It's more a vote of conviction than a useful vote”.

But if Giorgia Meloni's European program worries voters less and less, his social project upsets them more.

The candidate's slogan?

“God, fatherland, family”.

Its program consists in particular of fighting against Islamization and what it calls “LGBT lobbies”.

A speech that does not pass among young people, who fear a backtracking on social achievements.

In the suburbs of Rome, near the sea, Gianmarco, a doctoral student in statistics, fears the worst.

“We young people want lots of reforms, especially in terms of social rights.

But we feel that we are going in the opposite direction.

See the example of the United States with abortion.

It was a right, and now it's illegal.

We are very afraid of that,” admits the 30-year-old.

While he admits not having voted for five years, Marcello will go to the polls this time, motivated by this question of societal reforms.

“Maybe that's the only reason why I'm going to go there this time.

They have very conservative positions,” regrets the FAO employee.

Record abstentionism?

But the usual abstainers will probably not be numerous to go to the voting booth next Sunday, which worries researcher Giulia Sandri.

“In Italy, we traditionally have a fairly high voter turnout compared to other European countries.

In 2018, for example, there was a 73% participation rate, says the Espol professor.

Except that voters have really struggled to understand what has happened over the past four years.

This is for example the case of Vincenzo, a waiter in a small café at Termini station.

"I haven't voted for 15 years.

Italy does not have good politicians, they are only personalities.

They have no interest for the people”, he regrets.

An espresso in hand, Vincenzo hurries to continue his service.

Tourists arrive.

He hadn't seen many in two years.

And he intends to make his business survive… regardless of the results of the legislative elections.


Names have been changed


Political crisis in Italy: If the far right is elected, there may be a "risk of contagion" in the EU


Italy: Prime Minister Mario Draghi tenders his resignation to the President

  • World

  • Italy

  • Elections

  • Parliament

  • Far right

  • Vote

  • Europe

  • Production