The League and Five Star Movement offer little to voters hungry for radical change
‘A political prime minister of a political government.” So said Luigi Di Maio, leader of Italy’s populist Five Star Movement (M5S), of Giuseppe Conte, the virtually unknown law professor chosen to head the new coalition government between M5S and the rightwing League. But chosen by whom? And political in what sense?
In March, the Italian elections swept out of power the parties that had governed Italy, in one form or other, for the past quarter of a century. The Democratic party (PD), nominally the party of the left, which had been in power since 2013, lost 180 of its 292 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. As in much of Europe, the left has self-destructed by abandoning its traditional working-class constituency. Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, which had governed from 2001 to 2006 and 2008 to 2011 (in the latter years under the label The People of Freedom) was reduced to 14% of the vote.