GLOBAL AFFAIRS- In the recent Italian election, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) rapidly emerged and took nearly a third of the overall vote, undoubtedly dominating the impoverished south. With the aftermath of a hung parliament and the League winning 17% of the vote, the real loser is the Democratic Party (PD), which saw its share of votes dramatically collapse from 41% in 2014 to 19%. On the other hand, it is also the one party that holds the balance of power. Indeed, the idea of a coalition seems to be the most appealing outcome and the party that will obtain power will be the one that successfully persuades the Democratic Party. However, Matteo Renzi, recently resigned leader of the PD, clearly stated that the party will “never be with the extremists of the M5S and League”. With the major parties avoiding collaboration, a coalition seems improbable and instead, a long period of uncertainty is likely to dominate the political scene.
The significance of the vote is clear: people want a radical renovation of the political scene and its main players. What is uncertain is the political print to give to this new, unconventional wave, as neither the League nor the M5S have the numbers to govern and therefore need to come to an agreement together. This will be difficult to stipulate given the massive gulf dividing the leaders’ agenda. Di Maio, the leader of the M5S, wants to appear trustworthy and well-balanced, trying to carry through his programme not by asking for other parties’ consent, but directly to the Elected who share his advanced proposals, while Salvini, leader of the League, went for a far more aggressive approach.
The electoral results reflected a thundering rejection of the Establishment, highlighting a strong feeling of dissatisfaction and a desperate call for a change, even if this could mean a step back from the EU and the euro zone. In fact, Italy felt isolated, with little to no support from other European nations when dealing with the immigration crisis, which is highly controversial in the country. Salvini focused on this issue during his campaign, appealing to the vast population that is frustrated by the badly-managed immigration situation, claiming that “If I win, I will fill up airplanes with immigrants and send them home”.
There is a common trend developing across Europe: discontent and insecurity. The current situation that is afflicting Italy and considerably worrying the EU is not new. It happened to Germany who took 5 months to create the ‘big coalition’, as well as the Netherlands who took 208 days to agree on the formation of a new government. How long Italy will remain this way is take remains an unanswered question. As the next steps that need to be taken are increasingly unclear, it seems natural to morally ask what is best for the country. Italy is stuck at a junction, either wait and negotiate until an agreement is reached, or to turn to a second election in the hope that a clear winner will emerge this time.
According to the president of the Democratic party Matteo Orfini, “it is legitimate and reasonable” that the League and the Five Star Movement split the presidencies of the Chamber and the Senate as “there seems to be no conditions for the presidency of a Chamber to go to a representant of the PD”. As a party now focused on its internal restoration, the PD does not want to become someone else’s crutch. In the same interview, Orfini staunchly opposed any sort of support to the formation of the new government, firmly stating that “In the case we were to support a M5S government, in any form, it would be the end of the PD”, rejecting what appeared to be the only solution, a coalition.
In the meantime, the option of going to the vote for a second time is becoming increasingly popular. The journalist Ernesto Galli della Loggia strongly supports the idea, defining it “by far the best solution” as it takes into consideration what people really want, which “is certainly not a coalition of government, this is not what they voted for”.
A definitive majority is still far away. With no winner to celebrate and uncertainty prevailing, the reconstruction of Italy will inevitably be long and hard, dominated by contrasts and obstinacy.The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, with his placid attitude, is still waiting for the possibility to create a government with a parliamentary majority to become reality, and meanwhile reflects — What’s best for Italy?