Election rout in Sardinia leaves 5 Star in crisis

Election rout in Sardinia leaves 5 Star in crisis

Another Italian regional election result has gone heavily against the Five Star Movement (M5S) as the anti-establishment party appears to haemorrhage support.

A regional election in Sardinia — a former M5S stronghold — showed a dramatic fall in support since the general election in March last year when it gained 32.6 per cent of the national vote. It was the largest single party in Italy and it reluctantly went into coalition with the right-wing, anti-migrant Lega, which won 17.3 per cent.

But the M5S leader, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, has been eclipsed in government by the outspoken Lega boss, Matteo Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister.

In Sardinia at the weekend, a coalition of centre-right parties led by Christian Solinas of the Lega received 47 per cent of the vote and a centre-left coalition received 33 per cent. M5S received a feeble 9-per-cent support. M5S received 42.5 per cent of the vote on the Mediterranean island in the general election.

Some M5S MPs are demanding immediate changes to the way their party is run and questioning its role in coalition with the extremist Lega after two heavy regional election defeats this month.

Di Maio 32, is facing calls to return the party to its roots and give more power back to its members, “We’re at a crossroads,” said Senator Elena Fattori. “By teaming up with Salvini we’ve lost support from the left and not gained anything from the right.

“The power is in the hands of a small group of people, and this is leading to a loss of consensus.bThere is no dialogue, no debate, only rules imposed from above by Luigi Di Maio,” she added.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a political neutral, said: “We must not over-emphasise a regional election. I don’t believe the results could have any consequences for the national government.”

And Di Maio, ignoring suggestions that his party now appears to be a busted flush, said: “Nothing changes for the government.”

But the trend is expected to continue into May’s European elections.

“The dismal M5S performance defeated even the lowest expectations, and it strongly suggests that the national polls — which now have fallen below 23 per cent — may be upward biased, even when accounting for the traditional underperformance of M5S at local elections,” JP Morgan economist Marco Protopapa said.

“The EU election on May 26 can prove a political disaster for the current M5S leadership,” he added.


Sardinia used to be a Five Star Movement stronghold. Picture credit: IHA

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