Italians brace for seismic change ahead of election

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Italians brace for seismic change ahead of election

Italians were braced for seismic change on Saturday, on the eve of an election predicted to hand Italy the most rightwing government since World War II.

Giorgia Meloni, the head of the post-fascist Brothers of Italy party, is widely expected to become the country's first woman to head a government.

Wolfango Piccoli, a London-based political risk consultancy, said the country is eager for a change.

Italy is battling a series of crises, from rampant inflation and extreme weather events linked to climate change to an energy crisis that has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

The campaign sparked by Mario Draghi's downfall in July was wrapped up on Friday, giving Italians a day of reprieve as electioneering is banned after voting ends.

The latest polls show that the Brothers of Italy partyBrothers of Italy party is likely to win and form a government, according to people who spoke to Agence-France Presse in Rome on Saturday.

I am worried that the polls have the rightwing as the winner, especially Giorgia Meloni, said Maria Tasca, a 27-year-old student originally from Sicily.

From what she has said on women's rights, on young people's rights and on rights in general, I see things going backwards by at least 50 years. There is no magic solution to the problems that exist in the world. But sometimes you have to change, said a 75-year-old shop owner who gave his name only as Dante.

Meloni, 45, worked hard over the past few weeks to reassure investors and an anxious Brussels that her party's historical ties to supporters of dictator Benito Mussolini are a thing of the past.

She has softened her tone and posted a video of herself on TikTok making traditional pastries from the Puglia region.

She channelled warrior Aragorn from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings on Thursday at the closing rally for the rightwing coalition, which joins her Brothers of Italy with Matteo Salvini's Anti-immigration League Party and billionaire Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia.

The self-described Christian mother segued from the fantasy king to blame for the country s drug dealers, thieves, rapists and mafia, saying this Italy ends on Sunday.