Mr. Berlusconi was once Mr. Putin’s best friend among leaders of Western Europe. He once named a bed after Mr. Putin and still argues that he could make peace.
The conservative coalition has proposed cutting taxes on essential goods and energy, offering energy vouchers to workers, and renegotiating Italy’s European Union recovery funds to adjust for higher prices. It is also seeking to reinvest in nuclear energy, which Italy has not produced since the 1990s and banned in a 2011 referendum.
Its leaders have proposed a deep flat tax and the elimination of unemployment benefits popular in the south — known here as the “citizens’ income.” The benefit, pushed through with much fanfare by the Five Star Movement in its first government, acts as a subsidy to the lowest-income earners.
To drum up electoral support, hard-right parties have also tried to make illegal migration an issue, even though numbers are far below earlier years. They are also running to defend traditional parties from what Ms. Meloni has called gay “lobbies.”
The right also wants to change the Constitution so that the president can be elected directly by voters — and not by Parliament, as is now the case.
The center-left Democratic Party has argued to continue the hard line against Russia and has emphasized energy policies that focus on renewable sources, cutting costs for low and medium-income families, and installing regasification plants to increase natural gas supplies as Italy faces shortages from Russia. The party has advocated easing the path to citizenship for children of immigrants born in Italy, and wants to increase penalties for discrimination against L.G.B.T.Q. people. It also proposes introducing a minimum wage, cutting income taxes to raise net salaries, and paying teachers and health care workers better wages.