Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will lead her right-wing party Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) as the leading candidate in the European elections in June. “I have decided to run to lead the lists of the Brothers of Italy in all electoral districts,” Meloni said on Sunday at a major rally for her party in Pescara on the Adriatic.

However, the top candidacy does not mean that the 47-year-old politician, who has been in power since October 2022, will move from Rome to Brussels. Opposition leader Elly Schlein from the social democratic PD and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia) are also running as top candidates – without it being expected that they want to become members of the European Parliament. By setting up their bosses as driving forces, the Italian parties want to mobilize more voters. The former President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, recently strongly criticized this practice.

In a survey published on Sunday in the newspaper “La Stampa”, the Fratelli d’Italia came to more than 27 percent. Forza Italia, founded by the late media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, achieved 8.7 percent, while Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini’s right-wing Lega achieved 8.5 percent. The latter recently made headlines because it sent former General Roberto Vannacci, who was controversial because of homophobic and racist statements, into the race as an independent candidate.

Meloni announced that, following her success in Italy in 2022, she would also send the left into opposition in Europe. Since she came to power, Italy has once again become a “protagonist in Europe” and has had a significant influence on migration policy. At the same time, Meloni pledged to continue to support the Ukrainian people “against Vladimir Putin’s neo-Soviet imperialism.”