In Italy, the populist 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) have formed an unlikely alliance to thwart Matteo Salvini’s attempt to force early elections.
The Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister’s plan to gain premiership was withheld by this coalition.
“He committed a political error rather than one of timing,” said Lorenzo Castellani, political science lecturer at Rome’s Luiss University, in comments to AFP.
“Salvini didn’t see that contacts between European capitals and Italian President Sergio Mattarella, a deal was reached to prevent him cashing in on votes”, Castellani said.
Salvini thought he could bank on his rising popularity to consolidate the surging anti-immigration support base. However, M5S didn’t consider new elections favorable to its party.
“Today we told the president that there was a political agreement with the Democratic Party,” Luigi Di Maio, M5S leader said on Wednesday. Di Maio turned down the offer from the League for the position of Premier in a new government.
“I thank the League for the offer,” Di Maio said, “with gratitude and sincerity.”
Salvini urged the voters to reject the new administration and accused Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of delaying government work.
“This government is the least democratic and representative of all time. How do you get an executive to start something in which the founding members themselves do not believe?” Salvini noted.
“I wonder: since when did our government cease to function? The answer is: since Giuseppe Conte summoned everything to Palazzo Chigi. He has centralized all the dossiers and everything has stalled: procurement code, autonomy, justice, tax reform … Even tourism and adoptions.”
The Interior Minister earmarked 19 October as a “peaceful day of Italian pride” against a potential government made up of his former ally, the anti-establishment M5S, and the centre-left PD.
“From north to south, from the silent majority … a day of mobilisation for those who don’t want a government born overnight in Brussels,” he said in an announcement on Facebook.
“I’m not angry because of my own personal interests, I’m angry because a robbery of democracy is under way.”