Italy: Matteo Salvini Knocked Out Of Power After Leftist Parties Unite to Form New Govt

Chris Menahan
Aug. 28, 2019

Right-wing populist-nationalist Matteo Salvini has been knocked out of power for the time being after his attempt to force snap elections in an effort to become Prime Minister backfired with the anti-establishment leftist Five Star party allying with the establishment leftist Democratic Party to form a new government.

This alliance just so happened to occur one day after President Donald Trump threw Salvini under the bus and voiced his support for Italy's current leftist prime minister Giuseppe Conte from the Five Star party, though there's no evidence the two stories are related.

From CNN:
Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the center-left opposition Democratic Party (PD) agreed on Wednesday to form a new coalition government and avoid snap elections which could favor Matteo Salvini's far-right League Party.

The two parties entered coalition talks, despite being political enemies, after Italy's former ruling alliance -- made up of M5S and the League Party -- collapsed following months of infighting.

Hoping to seize on his rise in popularity, Salvini pushed for new elections in recent months, saying that the alliance between his hardline League and the Five Star Movement no longer held a parliamentary majority.

However, Salvini's plan inevitably backfired as he was sidelined from the ruling alliance by the M5S and PD on Wednesday night.
From the New York Times:
The leader of the hard-right, anti-migrant League party, Mr. Salvini had sought to consolidate his surging public support by pulling the plug on his coalition with Five Star. He called for early elections and asked Italians to give him full power.

It was a tremendous misstep, as he apparently failed to take into account the possibility that Five Star and the Democratic Party would overcome their reciprocal hatred and join forces inside Parliament to stop him. They did, and he found himself outmaneuvered.

The prospect of new elections posed an enormous threat to Five Star, whose support among voters has been cut in half during its 14 months in government with the League.

With their power and well-paid government jobs at stake — and their feelings hurt by Mr. Salvini’s betrayal — Five Star leaders instead opened talks with the Democratic Party, which only days earlier they had suggested was the party of Mafiosi, corrupt elites and kidnappers.

“Today we told the president that there is a political agreement with the Democratic Party,” Luigi Di Maio, the Five Star political leader, said on Wednesday evening.

He added that Mr. Salvini had unilaterally “pulled the plug” on their alliance and then, in a last-ditch effort to return to power, had offered Mr. Di Maio the position of prime minister in a new government.

Mr. Di Maio said he turned his former coalition partner down. “I thank the League for the offer,” he said. “With gratitude and sincerity.”

The Democratic Party had its own motives for joining Five Star. Those included stopping Mr. Salvini, draining Five Star of their protest appeal and giving their leadership time to build their support before scheduled elections in 2023, or for however long their alliance lasted.
While this is certainly an unfortunate series of events, Salvini is still the most popular politician in all of Italy. There's a very high chance this government will break apart before 2023.

Summit News reported Wednesday that the uncle of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro, "who was raped, murdered and dismembered by a Nigerian 'cannibal mafia' in the Italian town of Macerata," has threatened to release "photos of her dismembered body to the Italian parliament if the country’s new government repeals Matteo Salvini's strict immigration laws."

Additionally, illegal immigration tends to drop off hard during the colder fall and winter months.

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