Italy is heading towards a hung Parliament. After Germany and Austria, it is evident that the major political parties have started losing their support base in Italy, thus, allowing radical Rightist forces to gain ground.
Italy is all set to get a new government after the crucial March 4 election. The ‘Five Star Movement’ (M5S) – the far right, anti-immigrant and Euro-sceptic party – has bagged about 32% of votes to emerge as the single largest party. However, a centre-right bloc, which includes ‘Northern League’ and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘Forza Italia’ party – was the most successful electoral coalition. As not a single party or alliance has the majority in either House of the Parliament, a coalition government is on the cards. After considering the situation, the M5S has decided to join any alliance.
The former ruling party, Democratic Party (PD), has bagged just 18.9% of votes. And outgoing Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned as leader of the social-democratic party on Monday following the PD’s defeat in Sunday’s election. He admitted that three things distinguished the PD from the anti-establishment M5S and League, saying: “Their anti-Europeanism, their anti-politics and the verbal hatred they have directed at PD members made the difference.”
Meanwhile, the outcome of the Italian election has triggered a fresh uncertainty in Europe. Experts are of the opinion that the post-poll alliance or the new government in Rome might pose to be a nightmare for the EU. They believe that the current political situation in Italy is the fifth important development in global politics in recent times after the Brexit Referendum (2016), the US Presidential Election (2016), the German election (2017) and the Austrian election (2017).
Luigi Di Maio is leading the M5S that was founded by popular comedian and blogger Beppe Grillo and web strategist Gianroberto Casaleggio on October 4, 2009 in Milan. The party has managed to win the support of the poor section of people especially in southern Italy through its campaign against institutional corruption, financial crisis and the government’s immigration policy. According to experts, the PD has lost credibility in all these areas.
Italy has accommodated nearly 600,000 migrants from Libya since 2013. Italians are not at all happy with the government’s immigration policy. During its electoral campaign, the M5S announced that it would concentrate on ‘made in Italy’ products (when they come to power). It is to be noted that French far-Right politician Marine Le Pen had made similar announcement ahead of the Presidential Election in 2017. Although Le Pen’s National Front failed to perform well in French election, the far-Right party has emerged as the main opposition in the Bundestag (Germany). Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, too, formed the Federal government in December 2017 with the help of far-Right Freedom Party.
Populism is the big winner in Italy, too. The EU’s immigration policy and failure to tackle unemployment have been blamed for the M5S success. No one can deny that fact that the populist gains lessen Italy’s chances of teaming up with France and Germany. As the Germans have a government at last, Italy’s right turn may add to problems faced by the EU.