MS Risk Blog

Italian Election

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Italy had its elections this Sunday the fourth of March. No single party won enough seats to be able to form a government and so the painful process of negotiating and forming a coalition government must take place. The election results show that the Italians are frustrated by the problems that immigration brings; they are not alone as Europe as a whole seems to be reacting to the status quo in a similar manner.

The political party Five Stars won the most seats with 32% of the vote. The group was started by comedian Beppe Grillo in 2009 but he was replaced by the current leader Luigi Di Maio after an online election held on the group’s website in September 2017. The party cannot be pinned down to an ideology as they take ideas from all over the political spectrum. They are populist, environmentalist, anti establishment and have promised a universal income. Before the election they vowed not to conduct talks with the other parties, something they have back tracked on. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of the Democratic Party resigned as head of the party after they only got 19% of the vote. The party is split over the idea of joining Five Stars to form a government. In third place with 17% of the vote is the Northern League. The party was formally a regional power in the northern regions of Italy but gained ground in central Italy. The party is regarded as a far right populist. No one party has made any overt moves at the moment and negotiations are likely to be long and arduous.

Italy is one of the first entry points to the EU as such they receive a lot of immigrants from Northern Africa. The major incident where 6 African immigrants where shot in the city of Macerata on the 3rd of February this year by Luca Traini an unsuccessful candidate for the Northern League party caused a large counter protest and pushed the many issues of immigration to become a talking point the election. The effect on the sustained influx of immigrants on this election is not to be underestimated.

Anti Establishment parties have seen a lot of success across Europe causing the Euro to fluctuate and people to become uncertain about the future of the EU. Europeans seem frustrated with the status quo and are voting against it in significant elections. Many people who voted for Brexit did so as they felt that they were loosing out in the current situation and so lashed out against the establishment. Marine Le Pen in France got the final round of voting for the president in 2017 where she too portrayed herself and her party as anti-establishment. The German political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) took a surprising third place in the German election in September 2017. While they were unable to use there position to get into government it was a strong voice against Angela Merkel’s polices, in particular the open border police she followed and her acceptance Syrian refugees.