Elaine Byrne: Rise of far right across Europe creates perfect storm for Putin

Italy, which today is likely to elect its first far-right government since the rule of Mussolini, is only one of several EU states where nationalist parties are gaining ground

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far right Fratelli d’Italia political party, which is on track to receive a quarter of the vote in today’s general election. Like Silvio Berlusconi, she supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Picture: Getty

Italy goes to the polls today in a historic election that will likely return the first Italian far-right government since the rule of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini a century ago.

The far-right Fratelli d’Italia – Brothers of Italy – is expected to win a majority of the vote with 25 per cent. This is an extraordinary turnaround for Giorgia Meloni’s party, which returned a meagre 4 per cent of the vote in 2018.

Meloni, who ...