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From left to right, Lega leader Matteo Salvini, Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi, and Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni during a campaign rally in Rome.

REUTERS/Yara Nardi

What We're Watching: Italian election, Chinese anti-corruption drive, Lebanese bank shutdown

Italy votes!

Italians head to the polls on Sunday and are likely to elect Italy’s first far-right leader since World War II. Giorgia Meloni, 47, who heads the Brothers of Italy Party (which has neofascist roots) is slated to become Italy’s next PM. Polls indicate Brothers will win about a quarter of the vote, while her three-party coalition, including Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega Party and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, is projected to secure around 45%. Four years ago, Brothers – established in 2012 – reaped just 4% of the vote, but it has benefited recently from the left’s implosion as well as Meloni’s refusal to back the centrist Draghi government, which collapsed this summer, making her the most formidable opposition figure (Salvini and Berlusconi backed Draghi). Italy has convoluted voting rules but will be voting on 400 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) and 200 seats in the Senate – the winning coalition needs a majority in both. Meloni aims to dilute the EU’s power over Italian affairs, though she believes Rome must preserve close ties with Brussels, and she supports EU and NATO efforts to contain Russian aggression. Read this primer to learn more about what Meloni does – and doesn’t – stand for.

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From left to right, Lega leader Matteo Salvini, Brothers leader Giorgia Meloni, and former Italian PM and Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

How will the far right run Italy?

On Sept. 25, Italians head to the polls to vote in a snap parliamentary election triggered by the collapse of PM Mario Draghi's fragile coalition government in late July. Political instability and short-lived governments are nothing new in Italy, which has churned through 18 of them in the past 34 years. Now, though, an alliance of far-right parties is widely favored to win power for the first time since the end of World War II in a country with bitter memories of fascist rule. What will that government look like, and what can we expect from it? We asked Eurasia Group analyst Federico Santi.

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony to present state awards for outstanding achievements on Russia Day in Moscow.

Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel via Reuters

What We’re Watching: Putin’s progress, Italy’s right turn, a not-so-great Iraqi resignation

Putin’s progress

It’s been a positive few days for Russia’s president and his war on Ukraine. Russian forces appear close to capturing the strategically important city of Severodonetsk, bringing them a step closer to control of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. If they can accomplish that, Putin may well move to annex the entire area. Ukrainian officials have called urgently for faster delivery of heavy weapons to counter superior Russian firepower, but plunging stock markets in Europe and the US will strengthen the arguments in the West from those who oppose continued large-scale financial and military help for Ukraine. A new report from the independent Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air finds that higher global oil prices and a loophole that allows Europe to receive boycotted Russian oil via India have kept Russia’s oil revenue relatively high. Meanwhile, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to insist he will block the admission of Finland and Sweden into NATO. Though concessions might change his mind, there’s no guarantee he’ll back down. Russia’s military gains are incremental, and they will come at a great cost to Russia’s economic future. But for now, momentum is with the Kremlin.

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GZERO World S1E21: Rep. Joe Kennedy III

Rep. Joe Kennedy III

Kim Jong Un's olive branch may be nothing more than a smoke screen and a modern-day Kennedy makes his case for why #MAGA is making America small again.

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