Italy needs a General Election

We can’t let EU officials decide the make-up of the next Italian government.

Dominic Standish

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The Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte resigned this week. He announced his resignation ahead of a proposed vote of no confidence in the government. That vote was called for on 8 August, by Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister and leader of the League. Bizarrely, the League withdrew the proposed vote of no confidence at the end of a Senate debate on the government, which came across as a desperate, last-ditch effort to hold on to governmental power. Now, Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, will decide whether to hold an election or form a caretaker government or a new coalition government. His consultations with party representatives are taking place as I write.

The fall of the current coalition government – comprising the League and the Five Star Movement – was not a surprise. The parties disagreed on many things. Their most recent falling-out was over the completion of a high-speed train link between Turin and Lyon. The League voted in favour of finishing the link while the Five Star Movement voted to stop the project. This was consistent with the parties’ differing positions on the train link during the General Election in March last year.

Indeed, they were opponents during that election campaign. It was only after three months of post-election negotiations with President Mattarella that they managed to form the coalition government. Mattarella, of course, used his negotiating position to ensure that some of the key ministers in the new government were people with pro-EU views. In particular, the League was kept away from the economy ministry, in order to prevent the enactment of its election pledge to take Italy out of the euro. Eight unelected technocratic ministers were appointed, including the ministers of the economy, defence, foreign affairs and the prime minister, Conte.

So there is much that is positive in the fall of this largely undemocratic government. It gives rise to the chance for a new election. Yet in his speech to the Senate announcing his resignation, Conte declared that Salvini did not have a ‘sense of the rules’, and he berated the League for ‘drumming’ for elections. This would be ‘offensive [to] the activity of the government’, he said.

Clearly, the unelected Conte sees elections as an impediment to his role in government. He seems to be setting himself up for a broader pro-EU political career. But he has competition. Former prime minister Matteo Renzi has proposed a coalition between his Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement on the basis that ‘the populist government has failed’. This is remarkably arrogant: Renzi is not even leader of the Democratic Party, and he had to resign as prime minister in 2016 when he lost a referendum that he had turned largely into a vote about his leadership.

The Democratic Party leader, Nicola Zingaretti, initially ruled out a Democratic / Five Star coalition, but this could change during the talks with President Mattarella. Similarly, Romano Prodi, the former EU Commission president and Democratic Party grandee, has called for a pro-EU coalition government led by the Democratic Party and Forza Italia, which is led by former PM Silvio Berlusconi. It is also possible that Forza Italia could form a coalition with the League and the far-right Brothers of Italy, though Mattarella is unlikely to consider this option since he is a strong critic of the League and Salvini. However, it would be considered questionable, to say the least, if Mattarella favoured a coalition that excluded the League – the League currently has a 38 per cent approval rating among voters, while Five Star has just 17 per cent.

Alternatively, Mattarella may opt to appoint a non-political, technocratic government, which he tried to do initially after the General Election last year. We are told that elections would be ‘offensive’ to the business of government – but an appointed technocratic government would be truly offensive to democracy and the Italian people’s right to decide what happens next.

When Salvini and his League won the highest share of the vote in the EU elections in May, and were coming top in opinion polls, Salvini believed that all this voter approval would help propel him to lead a new government. If a snap election is held and he wins a majority, he may well achieve this ambition. Otherwise, it is President Mattarella, in consultation with the EU, who will decide the next government.

Salvini, as elections become a real prospect, should reflect on his ditching of his election pledges to leave the euro and stop EU sanctions against Russia. He has lambasted the EU with rhetoric while capitulating to it in terms of policy. If populists really want to represent the voters, they need to follow through on the pledges they make to the people rather than compromising with the EU elites.

Dominic Standish is the author of Venice in Environmental Peril? Myth and Reality. Visit his website here.

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Comments

Ven Oods

23rd August 2019 at 4:04 pm

With such a low birth rate, what the Italians need is a General Erection…

Amelia Cantor

22nd August 2019 at 10:04 am

We can’t let EU officials decide the make-up of the next Italian government.

Why not? That Italians have already voted the appalling fascist Salvini into power is bad enough. If they strengthen his “mandate” further, that wil be proof that democracy is not working in Italy. Again, as with Brexit, when children (i.e. Italian whites) are playing with matches, it’s up to responsible adults (i.e., the EU) to intervene before the children hurt themselves.

cliff arroyo

23rd August 2019 at 8:27 am

Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom! Let’s create 18 new EU commissions and four departments to prevent it!

Amelia Cantor

24th August 2019 at 11:31 am

Don’t make me laugh. If Salvini and his toxic League believe in “freedom”, why do they want to stop vulnerable BAME folk from pursuing a better life for themselves and their children in Europe?

Salvini is about fascism, the opposite of freedom.

Ven Oods

23rd August 2019 at 4:01 pm

Superb! So the EU should take action if the Italian people won’t vote the way the EU would like?

Amelia Cantor

24th August 2019 at 11:25 am

So the EU should take action if the Italian people won’t vote the way the EU would like?

Of course. Because if the EU doesn’t like it, it must be wrong. Fascism is never acceptable, which is why it is so good to see that BAME communities are growing so fast. When a permament progressive / BAME coalition locks in on both sides of the Atlantic, that will be it for facism, “free speech”, “gun rights” and all other white toxicities.

Winston Stanley

22nd August 2019 at 6:08 am

It is not clear that Salvini really cares about the EU, the Euro or even the economy, those are secondary considerations for him. He indicates that his real concern is demographic and not economic. He will be disappointed on that count.

With a record low birth rate of 1.3 kid per woman, which is a replenishment level of 65% per generation, the Italian birth count drops to 42.25% over two generations, to 27.46% over three and to just 17.84% over four. The native Italian population is basically over and Salvini may as well get over that. Mass migration is obviously the future for Italy.

1.3 is the lowest birth rate in Europe and particularly ironic seeing as Italy is the spiritual and geographic home of the pro-life RCC, though to be fair the Pope hates Salvini and he is trying to organise a coalition of the other parties to defeat him. Irony abounds. Salvini is said to be “Satan” and “the Antichrist”. LOL Italy is increasingly secular and these trends can only accelerate that.

> “The anti-austerity government which took office a year ago has boosted welfare spending and vowed to cut taxes in a bid to improve families’ stagnant incomes which it says contributes to their reluctance to have babies.
We are in a terrible state,” Matteo Salvini, interior minister and leader of the right-wing League commented on ISTAT’s report on demographic trends.
“This is the real crisis, not the bond yield spreads or the economic crisis,” he added. (Daily Sabah)

> The theory being floated in the Italian press is that Francis has charged Vatican Secretary of State Cdl. Pietro Parolin with encouraging rival parties to challenge Salvini by uniting to form a new coalition government.
Italian media are also suggesting that Parolin, working through the Vatican diplomatic corps, is cobbling together a deal with Germany and France to increase funding to Italy to help manage the hundreds of thousands of migrants that have streamed into the country in recent years. Reportedly, the deal is conditional on Salvini not taking power in the next elections.
In March, reports in the Italian press indicated that Pope Francis refuses to meet with Salvini, owing to his stance on migration.
In July 2018, Famiglia Cristiana, Italy’s largest Catholic publication, ran a cover story comparing Salvini to Satan.
That same month, during a homily inside the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica, Italian priest Fr. Alex Zanotelli declared the deputy prime minister to be “the Antichrist.” (Church Militant)

Hana Jinks

22nd August 2019 at 6:34 am

Thanks so much for this post.

Jim Lawrie

22nd August 2019 at 10:10 pm

A bankrupt country with an unemployment rate of 10%, heamorrhaging the best of its own, and a labour participation rate 13 percentage points below ours, needs a mass influx of low IQ third worlders? Those figures do not include the illegals.

The Vatican in its desperation to be relevant plots against Italian Democracy?
At least the Italian media, in its rumour mongering, acknowledges that the illegals are not economically viable.

Perhaps, if the Vatican feel that sorry for the cultural enrichers, they could sell La Pietà.

Winston Stanley

23rd August 2019 at 12:53 am

Who can account for mugs and their loyalties?

Jim Lawrie

23rd August 2019 at 10:37 am

My reply addressed your points, but you introduce new ones. I do not know to who or what you refer by introducing the subject of loyalty.

Hana Jinks

24th August 2019 at 4:51 am

He’s talking about collaborating with nazis, Jim.

Hana Jinks

22nd August 2019 at 4:34 am

Exodus.

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