This is a night of pride for the Brothers of Italy but it's a starting point and the situation is difficult and needs contribution from everyone, Meloni said.

Leader of Brothers of Italy Giorgia Meloni gestures at the party's election night headquarters, in Rome, Italy. September 26, 2022.
Leader of Brothers of Italy Giorgia Meloni gestures at the party's election night headquarters, in Rome, Italy. September 26, 2022. (Reuters)

Italian right-wing leader Giorgia Meloni, whose party came out on top in general elections, said she would seek to lead the next government and would work for all Italians.

"Italians have sent a clear message in favour of a center-right government led by Brothers of Italy," she told reporters in Rome on early Monday, adding that "we will do it for all" Italians.

She said that the night is a pride for the Brothers of Italy but it's a starting point not a finishing line. 

"Situation is difficult and needs contribution from everyone," Meloni said.

"If we are called upon to govern this nation, we will do so for all Italians, with the aim of uniting the people, of exalting what unites them rather than what divides them," Meloni told reporters. "We will not betray your trust."

Meloni's Brothers of Italy party came out on top in Italian elections on Sunday, according to the first exit polls, putting her eurosceptic populists on course to take power.

The party won between 22 percent and 26 percent of the vote, according to national broadcaster RAI. 

A right-wing coalition with her allies, Matteo Salvini's right-wing League and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, was expected to win a clear majority in both houses of parliament.

The result must still be confirmed but risks fresh trouble for the European Union, just weeks after the right wing outperformed in elections in Sweden.

READ MORE: How ‘fascist’ is the party of Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s PM frontrunner?

Democratic Party concedes defeat

Italy's main centre-left group, the Democratic Party (PD), conceded defeat early Monday in a national election and said it would be the largest opposition force in the next parliament.

"This is a sad evening for the country," Debora Serracchiani, a senior PD lawmaker, told reporters in the party's first official comment on the result. "(The right) has the majority in parliament, but not in the country."

Provisional results showed that a right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party had won around 43% of the vote and was on course for a clear majority in parliament.

Meloni, who campaigned on a motto of "God, country and family", has abandoned her calls for one of Europe's biggest economies to leave the eurozone, but says Rome must assert its interests more in Brussels.

But the self-declared "Christian mother" — whose experience of government has been limited to a stint as a minister in Berlusconi's 2008 government — has huge challenges ahead.

Like much of Europe, Italy is suffering rampant inflation while an energy crisis looms this winter, linked to the conflict in Ukraine.

The Italian economy, the third largest in the eurozone, is also saddled with a debt worth 150 percent of gross domestic product.

READ MORE: Five things to know about Giorgia Meloni - frontrunner in Italian election

Turnout is expected to be lower than in the 2018 elections.

Meloni had been leading opinion polls since Prime Minister Mario Draghi called snap elections in July following the collapse of his national unity government.

Hers was the only party not to join Draghi's coalition when, in February 2021, the former European Central Bank chief was parachuted in to lead a country still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

For many voters, Meloni was "the novelty, the only leader the Italians have not yet tried", Wolfango Piccoli of the Teneo consultancy told AFP news agency before the election.

READ MORE: Italy's undecideds: Can they reverse far-right's electoral gains on Sunday?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies