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Giorgia Meloni may be EU kingmaker in Italy's election


Italy was the first vital nation to participate in the European Parliament elections on Saturday. Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far right, may have had a crucial influence on the outcome.


People in most countries, including EU leaders France and Germany, go to the polls on Sunday. They expect far-right parties to do well. The results are likely to come in late Sunday night.


The far right is believed to gain more support and win a quarter of the seats in the EU parliament.

However, the mass of moderate parties will still become the most powerful force in the House.


Meloni ran for office on a platform that was mostly about immigration. On Saturday, she posted a video message on social media. She said her top goals were to "defend Europe's borders against illegal immigration and protect the real economy and jobs."


Italy, which has 76 of the 720 seats in the new parliament, could significantly impact how the bloc's power splits.

Polls show that Meloni's Brothers of Italy party could get 27% of the vote, up from just 6.4% in the 2019 EU elections.

Italy's prime minister has the authority to determine the fate of Ursula von der Leyen as the European Commission's leader and decide whether she will receive sufficient backing for a second term.


After the vote, it will likely come down to whether von der Leyen's European People's Party (EPP) will agree to work with the far right.

Von der Leyen has said that she is open to working with far-right lawmakers as long as they support the EU and aren't what she calls "Putin's puppets."

In this matter, the head of the EU Commission has made it clear that they will not work with Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Rally (RN) party in France, or with the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The nationalist Fidesz party that rules Hungary doesn't want to help Kyiv, and Viktor Orbán, the prime minister, is seen as the most pro-Russian leader in the EU.


Von der Leyen, on the other hand, seems more relaxed about working with Meloni and some other ECR group members. "I've been getting along great with Giorgia Meloni," she said, adding that she is "clearly pro-European."


As a sign of how important Meloni could become in the bloc's power structure, Le Pen and von der Leyen, who are on the center-right, have reached out to the Italian leader. Le Pen wants to create a right-wing union in the House.


Socialists, liberals, and greens are worried that Meloni could ask for weakening of EU climate measures in return for backing the head of the EU Commission. They have warned not to re-appoint von der Leyen if she makes any deals with the far right.


After an attempt on the life of its prime minister, Robert Fico, last month, Slovakia also went to the polls on Saturday. Fico's left-wing nationalist Smer-SD party, which is against sending EU weapons to Ukraine, seems to have gained support after what happened.

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