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Italians head to the polls with right-wing bloc expected to win race

Italian voters are to elect a new parliament on Sunday, with the country's right-wing parties predicted to win the vote that comes after the collapse of the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Rome, 25 September 2022 (dpa/MIA) – Italian voters are to elect a new parliament on Sunday, with the country’s right-wing parties predicted to win the vote that comes after the collapse of the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Some 51.5 million people are eligible to vote in the parliamentary elections, with polling stations set to open at 7 am (0500 GMT) and close at 11 pm.

The right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni and her nationalist Brothers of Italy party is expected to win the race and even garner an absolute majority, according to opinion polls. Meloni could also become Italy’s first female prime minister.

The bloc also includes the right-wing populist Lega led by Matteo Salvini and the conservative Forza Italia under former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Meloni’s party, deemed critical of the European Union, nationalist and sometimes even racist, dominates the alliance. Many fear Italian politics will shift to the right if the alliance wins. It’s not considered unlikely that Meloni’s Brothers of Italy will garner more votes that Salvini’s Lega and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia combined.

In the run-up to the elections, rivals from the left-wing and centre of the political spectrum have focused on attacking each other instead of forming a joint opposition against the right-wing parties, which is expected to lead to a historic low in voter turnout.

Exit polls are due to be published at 11 pm, when polling stations close, while first preliminary official results are to follow during the night.

In Italy, a country whose political landscape has been marked by turmoil over the past years, weeks go by until the first session of the new parliament and the formation and inauguration of a new government following elections.

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