Voting is currently under way in Italy to elect a new prime minister and parliament – but what happens next and will Giorgia Meloni be the new PM?
When will we have the official results?
The polls will close at 10pm UK time tonight and we will start having the first exit polls right after that.
We will then likely have to wait until Monday morning or afternoon to have the official closing results.
It’s important to remember that, due to the Italian electoral system, it’s usually a coalition rather than a single party winning.
When will we know who is the new PM?
It will likely be a while until we know officially who is Italy’s next PM as several procedures need to take place before and some unexpected events could happen.
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In fact, after the official results are confirmed, both Houses of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, will need to elect the presidents of each house and the heads of coalitions/parties.
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Who is Giorgia Meloni?
The nominees will then hold consultations with President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, who will assess whether there is a majority supporting a new government in parliament.
There isn’t a precise duration for this but analysts think it could last at least until mid-October.
When a majority has been confirmed, President Mattarella will consult with the winning coalition who will propose a new PM and Council of Ministers.
The president will only then officially appoint the new prime minister and the respective ministers. It’s hard to predict exactly when this will happen but analysts think it could be in the second half of October.
Image: Former PM Silvio Berlusconi, 85, leads the Forza Italia party
Will Giorgia Meloni be the new PM?
If the latest opinion polls are correct, the centre-right coalition made of Ms Meloni’s far-right party Brothers of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini’s League parties will likely win in both Houses of Parliament with Ms Meloni’s party getting most votes.
If this happens, Ms Meloni will likely be proposed as prime minister by her coalition and President Mattarella will likely accept it.
Read more:Who is far-right leader set to become Italy’s first female PM?
However, as in previous elections, parties in the winning coalition could also start diverging on some issues.
For instance, Mr Berlusconi and Mr Salvini could block Ms Meloni proposing another name for prime minister.
At this point, President Mattarella might intervene and choose a completely different PM.
Image: President Sergio Mattarella has a key role to play in the process
Another possible outcome is that centre-right coalition wins with a narrow majority because the Five-Star party gets more votes than expected, especially in the southern regions.
In this case, the president might even consider appointing a super-partes (impartial) figure as prime minister.
Analysts say these last two scenarios are unlikely but they also point out that unexpected outcomes shouldn’t be completely ruled out as Italian politics often prove unpredictable.
Source : Sky News