Italy: Opposition call premier Conte to resign after Five Stars populists give up fight against far-right League to try staying afloat

Rome 7 August 2019 –  Italian senators voted against a motion put forward by anti establishment M5S which delegates to the Italian Parliament a vote on whether realisation of mega high speed railway TAV connecting Italy to France, should go forward. The contested project sparked internal disagreement between the two deputy premiers 5SM Di Maio (against) and League Salvini (favourable) to the EU partially funded project connecting Turin to Lyon.

But beyond the specific merit of the highly expensive infrastructure, political raw was raging between the two ruling parties; but now through the motion Five Stars gives up to its fight and long standing opposition to the project in order to strengthen the ruling coalition amid polls projecting Salvini’s Lega close to 38% (Tecne’ 1st August) .

On August 5 2019, 5SM voted in favour of far-right intransigent and highly contested Security Decree two though previously expressed negative opinion on the bill: a strategic move labelled by opposition Democratic Party (PD) as ‘slavery’ to Salvini’s growing power.

The same accusation PD group leader at Senate Andrea Marcucci addressed to the populists while voting against the anti-Tav motion adding a figure of hope as the coalition might crash as there’s no longer a majority: “Majority does no longer exist; this government must go home. Yesterday against your will you backed League without reaching magic number of 161 votes on a bill by Salvini which only attacks ONG and does not defend the country” said referring to the approved Security Decree two.

“Premier must go to the Colle [i.e. Quirinale] and resign” Marcucci said.

By voting against 5Star Movement’s motion and stating PD support to TAV, the main Italian opposition party supported de facto the coalition government as Lega wants to see the infrastructure realised. Among minor forces: Brothers of Italy and Berlusconi’s FI voted yes, LEU noes +Europe abstained. Meanwhile voices of dissent within the left PD stressed the ambiguity and party politics of opposition stating it’s incoherent calling new election and backing Salvini’s stances on Tav at the same time. Under previous PD led government premier Renzi opposed Tav.

By distancing from 5SM, PD is now walking along the path of an overall frontal opposition against Lega with no chances of compromise with the more moderate populists. Soon after 2018 general elections, after no clear majority came out from the poll, populists left the door open to PD which refused any power sharing; stance restated by current party leader Nicola Zingaretti.

With such a political positioning Democratic Party is trying to force new elections by playing the card of the uncompromising lefty identity of those ready to fight for rights and social equality, the one identity voters complained the party had lost and consequently elected anti-establishment 5Star with the hope of a new course.

Emy Muzzi