It was over two months ago when we watched a coalition of right-wing parties in Italy scoop up 37% of the vote in their national elections. The victory gave them an estimated 123 seats in the lower house of the legislature, a huge jump from their previously held 22 seats. That still wasn’t enough for a majority, however, and they would need to form a coalition to establish a ruling government. The party with the largest share of the vote was the Five Star Movement (M5S). They weren’t a perfect fit for the more nationalist leaning Northern League, Forza Italia and the Brothers of Italy, but they are declared Euroskeptics so they at least had something in common.
Political observers in Europe were predicting a deadlock and possibly even new elections, but this week we learned that M5S has come to terms with the Northern League and they will form a ruling coalition. (The Local, Italy)
Matteo Salvini, head of the nationalist League, had earlier said in a statement he and Five Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio were “writing history” and would call President Sergio Mattarella.
Press agency AGI reported Di Maio made a brief call to the president’s office to “announce that they are ready from tomorrow (Monday) to report on everything, including the name of the prime minister”.
If the head of state accepts the nomination, the position could be filled within days.
Following a second day of negotiations with Salvini in Milan, Di Maio said the prime ministerial candidate will be “a politician and not a technician”. According to Italian media reports, the nominee will be a “third party” belonging to neither the League or the M5S and would have international authority.
So much for the predictions of deadlock. It took several weeks of negotiations, but when the breakthrough was reached events moved along very quickly. Italy should have their new prime minister by the end of the week barring any sudden surprises. But who will it be? The League and M5S are both saying it will be a “third party” person. As of a month ago, observers were betting that the Prime Minister would either be Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio or the Northern League’s Matteo Salvini, but now it seems they are both passing.
One of the more disturbing possibilities is found in the news which came out only a few days ago, showing that the court ordered ban on former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi holding office had been prematurely lifted by the courts. At 81 years of age, Berlusconi certainly has government experience and is the titular head of the Forza Italia party, part of what will now be the ruling coalition. But he’s probably best known for having been convicted of tax fraud and having hosted endless “bunga bunga” parties featuring strippers, escorts and allegedly underage girls. If Italy is trying to rebuild their government with a fresh start and put their many allegations of corruption behind them, Berlusconi might be about the worst choice they could make.
Still, no matter who winds up being selected, Italy is preparing to veer off in a different direction. This will almost certainly spell more trouble for the European Union and their ideas about forced migration, since the victorious parties in Italy largely ran against those policies.