London – The latest polls confirm far right anti-immigration Lega Nord as the first Italian party at the forthcoming EU elections in May. This not only will impact the unbalanced ruling coalition in Rome, but the European Union as well. France’s far-right Front National, Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) Czech SPD, Dutch PVV are filling in pollsters’ projections with a distressing black.
With 32% (+2% on previous poll and +15% on 2009 EU elections) now Lega leads over its coalition party M5S 25% (-1% on previous poll and -8% on 2009 EU elections), and while most European far right parties are united under ENF group in the EU Parliament and therefore are able to exert power in Strasbourg and maybe on the Commission, M5S is left aside as no longer part of EFDD group which populists entered backed by British UKIP, (no longer in the EU after Brexit).
Desperately looking for a group to form, Italian populists are now courting the French yellow vests with the hope of joining forces in the name of the common anti establishment and anti Macron stances: the goal is to reach, along with other populists, the 25 elected MEPs across 7 countries needed to form a group and have influence in Brussels. But the French protest movement answered “pas du tout” to M5S’ leader, although announcing a visit to Rome in the near future to return the Italian blitz in Paris. But it looks like ‘gilets jaunes’ Italian fellows instead are going to rally in Rome against the government in support of an Italian exit from the EU.
Chart/Copyright europeelects.eu Note: Bidimedia is not the most recent poll
The black axis meanwhile is stockpiling euroscepitcs’ consensus not just driven by anti immigration propaganda but also enabled by the absence of a united political opposition: 17% is what remains of PD, the former ruling party, +Europa gained 2% and left newborn LeU with its 3% are missing the minimum quota to get one MEP. But PD, Leu, +Europe and more centre-left movements might finally unite under one pro-European list: their manifesto in favour of a federalist Europe published mid January is paving the way to a final cross party list of candidates.
As European elections mirror the state of domestic political consensus for each one of the 27 members, a successful united front of the left in Italy might prospect a less dismembered opposition able to cut short across the old feuds of power within PD.
The ultimate risk: latest polls show a slight drop in support for M5S. If this will turn into a final marginalisation of Italian populists in Brussels with consequent empowerment of far right Lega, the one getting immediate advantage of that wouldn’t be the left wing but the far right one, because FI oppose M5S, will probably renew its historic alliance with Lega Nord then pushing for new general elections. At that point Democrats plus populists will account for a minority. That is the reason why the upcoming EU elections might ultimately change the picture of Italian politics making it increasingly darker.