Italy: A very special government

Two populist coalition partners and an inexperienced prime minister without power: from Italy, no stability is to be expected, rather a pivot towards the east.

Italy: A very special government

Italy has a new government and it is a very special government. It is made up of MoVimento 5 body (M5S) and Lega. M5S is not ten years old. Most of time since its existence, this five-Star Movement has spent race against " system" to bring it down.

A few days ago, her political leader, Luigi Di Maio, once again delivered a taste of revolutionary spirit that inspired M5S. When President Sergio Mattarella rejected 81-year-old Paolo Savona as Minister of Economic Affairs – which is his right – di Maio wanted to initiate a deregulation procedure against president. Mattarella should go away because he block "democracy". Di Maio called for mass demonstrations against president. However, Italian flag may be hung from window to mark protest. A few days later, same di Maio conjured a compromise out of hat. Paolo Savona should not become economy minister, but will take over relatively insignificant Ministry of Europe. Mattarella agreed, Di Maio praised president, whom he had just wanted to overthrow.

Where did spectacular change of heart come from? Di Maio feared elections. The beneficiaries were very likely to benefit from his coalition partner, Lega and ir chief Matteo Salvini. The Lega has increased to over 30 percent in polls over past few weeks. However, Di Maio had to convince Salvini first to agree to his proposal. He demanded a price for it. Although Lega was only half as successful in elections (17 percent) as M5S (32 percent), it is now represented in government as much as M5S. Salvini has used hardships and fears of Maios very skillfully for himself – and probably also his burning desire to finally come to power.

The government probably also came out for a reason that two do not really want to call it: reaction of markets. In face of ongoing crisis, interest rates rose to Italian government bonds. So Italy had to spend even more money to serve its astronomical debts. Even though di Maio and Salvini describe " markets" repeatedly as a dictatorial regime, y should not have been unimpressed by development.

Now two have shared power. Both are deputy Prime minister. Di Maio is also Minister of Labor and Industry. Matteo Salvini is also interior minister. He will focus primarily on issue that has made him strong: migration. A few hours before he was sworn in, he announced that he would halve money that Italy will have for reception of refugees. The Minister-President will be law professor Giuseppe Conte. According to Constitution, it should determine government policy, but in view of power relations, Conte should not be more than a notary of Di Maio and Salvini.

A commitment to euro looks different

The 69-year-old professor Giovanni Tria will be minister of Economics. It is largely unknown abroad. TRIA does not want to lead Italy out of euro, but he does not believe that euro is "irreversible". If it came to an exit from single currency, it would have to be decided jointly. Whoever does it alone would "bear all costs without any benefit," wrote Tria in a guest post for Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24ore. An unmistakable commitment to euro is different. But, given more than ambivalent attitude of M5S and Lega to euro, Trias attitude is downright clear. In any case, Personalie tria Brussels should calm down.

This also applies to occupation of foreign minister. Enzo Moavero Milanesi is a man who is known in Brussels. He has worked in EU Commission, under Prime Minister Mario Monti (2011 – 2012) He served as European minister. Moavero Milanesi becomes a foreign minister who does not frighten anyone in Europe, but who is not likely to impress anyone eir. The remainder of 18 ministerial posts are divided between M5S and Lega under ir partisans, five of m are women. This all sounds unspectacular, in view of drama of last few weeks downright boring. But this government is a real novelty.

Never before has an Italian prime minister been politically so inexperienced and as powerless as Giuseppe Conte. That does not bode well for stability of government. With Matteo Salvini sits an open admirer of Vladimir Putin and a close political friend of Marine Le Pen in government. Like Le Pen, Salvini also considers EU to be a "new Soviet Union" that must be dismantled in sense of oppressed peoples. Luigi Di Maio, for his part, wants to bring " people" back to power because he believes that it is powerless in a parliamentary democracy – only di Maio does not know how to accomplish this. Where do two members of EU founding member Italy lead? Probably away from Brussels, towards eastern Europe. To Budapest perhaps, where Viktor Orbán reigns, Propagandist of illiberal democracy.

Date Of Update: 02 June 2018, 12:02

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