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Italy PM Meloni insists French election result not defeat for far right

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Jerry Fisayo-BambiEuronews
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Marine Le Pen's party came in a surprising third in the snap poll despite expectations of a shocking victory.


Italy's prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, said no party in France emerged victorious in the just-concluded legislative elections, in which the far-right National Rally (RN) was beaten into third by a leftist coalition and President Emmanuel Macron's centrist bloc.

The Italian leader's comments were part of reactions pouring from across Europe over the legislative election results, which saw Marine Le Pen's RN dramatically halted in what was thought could be a rise to power.

Speaking in Washington on Monday, where she is attending the NATO summit, Meloni said that interpreting the results as a defeat for Le Pen's party was simplistic.

"I think that because, if we want to look at what happened in France, the truth is that no one can sing victory," she said. "There were three coalitions: none of the three prevailed, none of the three is able to govern alone.

"I can say from personal experience that it is easier to govern when you are together because you share ideas than when you are together because you share an enemy."

According to Nicoletta Pirozzi, Head of the EU Programme at the Institute for International Affairs, Meloni should actually welcome the outcome.

“Le Pen’s defeat is not necessarily bad for Meloni. As things stand now, if Le Pen had won, this would have forced Meloni to come in second position among right-wing political forces in Europe," said Pirozzi.

"Following the news that both the RN and the League party are joining Orban’s Patriots for Europe group, Meloni can represent a more cooperative side of the right bloc, if you will, one that can strike a deal with the new Commission headed by Ursula von der Leyen."

For Elly Schlein, leader of Italy's main opposition party, the Democratic Party, the results show that "the far right can be beaten".

Meanwhile, Italians on the streets of Rome were also reacting to the news from France.

While a range opinions were on display, one thing they seemed to agree on was that the upset for the far right in France offers many lessons for their own country.

“I am very happy about the outcome and I had predicted that," one person said. "Right-wing parties should stop proclaiming victory before having actually won."

For one young man, the huge voter turnout was impressive.

“It’s nice to see that in France, young generations have mobilised and went to vote to change the political situation. It would be great to do the same here in Italy and encourage both young and old people to go vote.”

But while some parts of Europe breathe a sigh of relief that the extreme right was unable to secure a majority despite their growing popularity, France now begins a difficult process: forming a new government in a fractured parliament.

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