Italy: PM Giorgia Meloni to run in EU election

Rome: Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Sunday announced she would run as her ruling party Brothers of Italy’s lead candidate in the European election in June.

“I’ve decided to step into the field to lead the lists of Brothers of Italy in all constituencies,” Meloni said at a party event in Pescara, Italy.

“We want to create a majority that brings together the center-right forces and send the left into the opposition even in the EU. It’s a difficult undertaking, but it’s possible, and we must try,” the prime minister said.

Meloni is the latest major Italian political figure to announce her intentions to run in the June election, and her move seems designed to use her personal popularity to boost her party’s chances in the European vote.

A spokesperson for the European Parliament told POLITICO that if Meloni were to take up a seat at the European Parliament, she would have to resign from office — a highly unlikely scenario.

Meloni’s move is not an uncommon strategy among Italian leaders and leading politicians. In 2009, then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ran as his party’s lead candidate in the EU election, and stayed on as head of the Italian government after his party finished first in the election. Matteo Renzi did the same thing five years later.

Meloni’s party already tops the latest polls in Italy, and is predicted to get 27.2 percent of the vote, ahead of the center-left PD (20.3 percent) and the Five Stars Movement (16.8 percent).

Both Elly Schlein, leader of the PD, and Antonio Tajani, the current foreign minister who is from the conservative Forza Italia party, have entered the race for the European Parliament.