Italy's right takes over key town halls
Many of the town halls in Italy's major cities will soon be led by conservatives and right-wing parties. In local elections Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and the right-wing populist Lega Nord have won against the social democrats of the Partito Democratico (PD) in cities like Verona and Como. Beppe Grillo's protest party Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) also suffered major losses. Does this signal a shift to the right in Italy?
Renzi go home!
For Il Giornale the voters' message is unmistakable:
“Renzi go home, or rather: Renzi go home again. For the second time in seven months the Italians have made this wish very clear. ... The protest is also aimed at Renzi as a person, at his way of doing politics and his habit of going back on his word (didn't he say he would leave politics if he lost the referendum?). ... Renzi and the PD lost this election because their policies don't correspond at all to the people's expectations. The uncontrolled influx of immigrants, birthright citizenship, the bank bailouts, the record unemployment, the new taxes and the authoritarian implementation of compulsory vaccination: all in all a disaster right down the line.”
Grillo moving towards the right
Movimento 5 Stelle won fewer votes than expected even though Beppe Grillo has led his party further and further towards the right for tactical reasons, political scientist Jorge del Palacio Martín observes in El Mundo:
“The key to understanding the M5S's shift to the right lies in the logic of electoral competition that has dominated Italian politics since the 2013 elections. With a fragmented and disunited right, the dynamics of the radical opposition to Renzi's Partito Democratico (PD) have automatically driven the M5S towards the right. Far from rejecting this opportunity Grillo has seized it eagerly, complementing his anti-politics rhetoric and defence of direct democracy with a position that is critical of the European Union, the euro, immigrants, trade unions and NGOs.”