Italy PM Meloni to stand at EU election – but wouldn’t take the seat

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at a party conference in Pescara on Sunday. /Remo Casilli/Reuters

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at a party conference in Pescara on Sunday. /Remo Casilli/Reuters

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced on Sunday she will be a candidate at June’s European elections in a bid to boost support for her Brothers of Italy party, though she will not take up a seat if elected.

The June 6-9 European Parliament vote is a key test of strength for her 18-month-old rightist coalition.

“We want to do in Europe what we did in Italy… create a majority that brings together the center-right forces and send the left into opposition,” Meloni told cheering party faithful at a party conference in the coastal city of Pescara to set out EU policies and launch the campaign.

Meloni, whose party traces its roots to Benito Mussolini’s Fascist group, called for Italy to leave the euro zone when in opposition and her 2022 election raised concerns in some European capitals. However, she has followed a broadly pro-European, orthodox line in office, particularly on foreign policy matters such as Ukraine and the Middle East.

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Her party is Italy’s most popular with 27 percent of support, according to recent polls, ahead of the opposition Democratic Party (PD) on around 20 percent and the left-leaning 5-Star Movement on 16 percent.

Meloni will be the first name on the ballot for Brothers of Italy in all five of Italy’s constituencies for the EU election, but pledged she would not use “a single minute” of her time as prime minister to campaign.

PD leader Elly Schlein announced last week she would also run, as did Antonio Tajani, head of the centrist Forza Italia party which is in the ruling coalition. All three leaders hope to win votes of people who take little interest in politics but are attracted by names of party chiefs on the ballot.

Assuming they are elected, Meloni, Schlein and Tajani are expected to give up their seats, making way for runner-up candidates.

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Source(s): Reuters