Matteo Salvini’s populist League party in prime position to take advantage of new Italian elections

29 05 18

Italy will not be welcoming a populist government for now, but that is likely to turn out to be good news for the populists.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has clashed with both the League party and the 5-Star Movement (M5S) because of his refusal to appoint a eurosceptic economist, Paolo Savona, as finance minister amid concerns from investors at home and abroad. The spat led to the collapse of talks to form a M5S/League coalition government.

Mr Mattarella has asked former International Monetary Fund (IMF) official Carlo Cottarelli to form a new technocrat government. The economist, 64, is known as “Mr Scissors” for his cuts to Italy’s public spending.

Mr Cottarelli will look to present a programme to parliament, including a budget, and aim for elections early next year. However, it is unlikely he will gain the support of the parliament, meaning elections would be pushed forward to August this year.

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League, which was part of the right-wing coalition that gained 37 per cent of the vote in the March elections, and the M5S’s Luigi Di Maio, whose party won the single biggest individual share of the vote, have both switched to campaign mode and have called for protests against the decision by Mr Mattarella.

Early elections would suit both parties, with Mr Salvini and Mr Di Maio, having made much of the narrative that the Italian and wider European establishment are getting in the way of the will of the Italian people.

There were reports on Monday that M5S may even consider campaigning with the League in any new vote. However, as a matter of fact, it is the League that can take advantage from a fresh election seemingly better than anyone else.

SOURCE: Independent


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