League chief eclipses senior coalition partner with anti-immigration broadside
Matteo Salvini heads the junior coalition partner in the populist government that took office in Italy on June 1. Yet the leader of the far-right League has seized control of the political agenda — eclipsing the anti-establishment Five Star Movement led by Luigi Di Maio, which won nearly twice as many votes in the March elections but is struggling to project its voice in power.
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This map reflects questions about the sustainability of a government when constituents of it belong to regions and communities that are in a historical conflict. A real source of uncertainty
Judging by the Italian president Sergio Mattarella’s (justified) refusal to approve a government that would have been dominated by the League with its aversion to Europe and its institutions, the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Italy will focus on the euro and Italy’s membership of the euro area.
The worrying point here is that the Italian population is no longer in favor of the euro, as shown by the latest European Commission Eurobarometer survey (October 2017), when 40% of Italians said that the euro is a bad thing for the country as compared to 25% of the population in the euro area as a whole, and also in France. Meanwhile, only 45% of Italians think that the euro is a good thing for the country vs. 64% on average in the euro area and France. The European question played a major role in the French electoral campaign in spring 2017, but we can see that the European aspect of the Italian elections was driven by different considerations. Close to half of Italians are skeptical on the usefulness of the single European currency, and herein lies the real difference. Continue reading
The Italian situation becomes more complex after the resignation of Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte. The Italian president didn’t validate the government Conte has presented to him.
In this possible government, Salvini, the leader of the League, had the Ministry of the Interior and Di Maio, the 5-star movement’s leader, the Ministry of Labor. These points were recorded.
The stumbling block was the Ministry of Finance, where Paolo Savola, who is very critical of the euro and the construction of Europe, was being approached. Continue reading
Giuseppe Conte has been appointed Prime Minister by Italian President Sergio Mattarella. The next step is the formation of the government that will reflect the balance of strength between the 5-star Movement and the League.
1 – Conte is the lowest common denominator between the two parties of the coalition. He will not have much room for maneuver. Continue reading
The Italian question remains a concern for Europe, even after the nomination of a prime minister (to be confirmed by the Italian president), who is something of a lowest common denominator between the Five Star Movement and the League. Investors are breathing a sigh of relief, with the yield spread with Germany widening at a comparable pace than last week, as shown in the chart. However, many questions remain.
A number of points are worth raising:
1 – Italian malaise
Growth has made a comeback but each country already wants to take its own path. Unity is no longer on the cards and the world economy is fast going down a very different road.
During the recovery in 2016 and 2017, the worldwide situation was relatively stable, with no major imbalances, and the central banks cut some slack when required to make it through any bumpy patches. This approach worked fairly well as the pace across the various areas of the world became more uniform, driving growth and trade momentum, and economists were constantly forced to upgrade their forecasts.
But those days are gone, and this cooperative and coordinated dimension has disappeared. Continue reading