Analysis. The governing parties, with Fratelli d'Italia in the lead, are now able to claim that these regional elections were a test of the approval of Meloni's executive.

After election victories, Lega and Fratelli d’Italia are re-christened the ‘center-right’

Everyone among the center-right is happy. Which seems to have officially become “right-center,” according to the definition given on Monday by Daniela Santanchè, but without any upheaval among minority members or earthquakes among the governing majority.

Lega and Forza Italia saw the internal balances within the coalition confirmed, as laid out by the September 24 vote, and all of them, with Fratelli d’Italia in the lead, are now able to claim that these regional elections were a test of the approval of Meloni’s executive, who was the great absentee on election day due to a case of the flu.

In Lombardy, FdI got around 26 percent (thus down slightly from 28.5 percent in the general elections), the Lega grew to 17 percent (up from 13.3 percent on September 25 and down from its peak of 29.6 percent in the 2018 regional elections) and Forza Italia was at 7.4 percent (compared to 7.9 percent in the general elections and 14 percent in the regional ones five years ago).

There were no major drops in support in Lazio either. FdI was at around 33 percent (up from 31 percent in the general elections), and Lega and Forza Italia seemed to repeat the performance of five months ago, earning above 6 percent.

“Our coalition, with FdI in the lead, is more and more convincing,” the tourism minister said from Milan. A little more than two and a half hours since the polls closed in Lombardy, Fratelli d’Italia warned its allies: “The balances will change regarding the coalition,” Santanchè stressed. “Of course, it’s still the ‘right-center’ team, which has proven to be very strong, but I am sure that together with the allies we will find a composition of the junta that will have skills at its center, highly qualified, because there are so many challenges.” The pattern will apply even more to Lazio, where Fratelli d’Italia is dominating the coalition and actually gets to choose the president of the region.

The Berlusconians and Salvinians aren’t worrying about this yet. For now, they are busy claiming credit for the substantial resilience at the polls. FI are saying they have shown they are still “alive and responsive.”

“The voters have rewarded the center-right government in these first 100 days,” said the party’s Senate group leader, Licia Ronzulli. “Above all, they have expressed support for bipolarity, punishing the third pole’s attempt to form a reformist, liberal and popular center, which already exists and is called Forza Italia.”

The Lega, especially its Salvini wing, is also breathing a sigh of relief. They feared the competition against him from the so-called “governors’ party” and the low-intensity war of the Lombardy party members close to Umberto Bossi, who, in the weeks before the vote, together with Fontana, had claimed their autonomous identity against the via Bellerio leadership. But Rocca’s success and Fontana’s re-election, according to the Lega, are proof that Salvini is holding on and that his line is beginning to pay off.

When Meloni sent in a recorded message, she did so to offer her “congratulations to Francesco Rocca and Attilio Fontana for their clear victory in these regional elections.”

“I am sure that both will give their best to honor the vote and the mandate received from the citizens of Lazio and Lombardy,” said the premier, taking credit for the “result that consolidates the compactness of the center-right and strengthens the work of the government.”

There will be enough time to figure out which candidates voters have rewarded among the internal geography of Fratelli d’Italia: those that are particularly under scrutiny are above all the candidates supported by Fabio Rampelli, since it was precisely a party quarrel linked to the Lazio election campaign and the wing of the vice-president of the Chamber that had led to the party’s leadership in Rome forcefully taking over the Lazio branch.

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