Salvini’s holiday crisis turns off voters
Outgoing Italian prime minister Matteo Salvini’s move to bring down the coalition government during the summer appears to have undermined his Lega party’s popularity.
A poll suggests there has been a drop in support for Salvini’s anti-migrant Lega after he caused a political crisis during the holiday season. Sun, sea, barbecues, wine and an early general election possibly make an unpopular mix.
Support rose for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), the senior partner in the coalition, and the Democratic Party (PD), who are in talks to form a working majority.
While the two sides share some political goals, they have been antagonists for years and have earlier pledged never to align with each other.
Any alliance would have a relatively comfortable majority in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, but would rely on unaligned but sympathetic senators for legislation to pass the upper house.
The pollster Tecne reported support for the Lega fell to 31.3 per cent, from about 38 per cent earlier in the month, based on the opinions of 1,000 voters.
M5S was recorded at a still feeble 20.8 per cent, which is up from 17.5 per cent, and PD was at 24.6 per cent, compared with 22.4 per cent.
Since the decline of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, voters have lacked options on the centre-right and many have drifted towards Salvini’s far-right Lega.
President Sergio Mattarella has started consultations with parties to gauge forming a new government.
Mattarella said he would only support a solid coalition capable of passing a parliamentary confidence vote. He added that the fate of the country and the eurozone’s third-largest economy was at stake.
If this autumn’s national budget is not passed this autumn, value-added tax will go up, which could further stifle Italy’s already-flagging economy.
M5S’s leader Luigi Di Maio and PD chief Nicola Zingaretti have been given until Tuesday to draw up a coalition deal.
M5S makes internal policy decisions through secret online votes using a web platform managed by a private tech firm which Italy’s privacy authority has sanctioned as non-transparent.
Salvini, while Italy’s interior minister, used his 15 months in government to run a permanent election campaign. His “Italy first” policies attacked migrants and closed Italian ports to rescue boats and he posted videos on social media of puppies and pictures of food.
Italians tend to enjoy August. Picture credit: NeedPix