Mass anti-government protests in Italy

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Italy on the weekend to protest the government's economic policy under the slogan "A future for work". The demonstrations were organised by several trade unions. Commentators make out several factors that could prove fatal in the medium term for the coalition government consisting of the Five Star Movement and the Lega.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

People won't be fooled by populists much longer

The smile will soon be wiped off the Italian government's face, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung contends:

“Since they've been able to rely on the cumulated support of roughly sixty percent of voters, Interior Minister Salvini of the right-wing nationalist Lega and Labour Minister Di Maio of the left-wing populist Five Star Movement have been able to get away with plenty of jeering. But the ongoing misery on the job market, the drop in industrial production and the recession now hitting the country mean they won't be able to go on blaming the previous government for long. ... The Italians will soon start to comparing the government's big promises with the rather modest reality of their living standards.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Economy could dim Salvini's political star

The economy is the Italian government's Achilles heel, the Financial Times writes:

“Northern Italian business interests, a core element of the League's support, are less than impressed with the government's erratic economic policies. Above all, the Italian economy is once again in recession. As many Italian leaders before Mr Salvini have discovered, a weak national economic performance diminishes Italy's clout on the EU stage. It is premature to predict Mr Salvini's imminent eclipse, but it is perhaps not too soon to ask how long and how brightly his political star will shine.”

HuffPost Italia (IT) /

Workers making themselves heard

The unions have made major progress, Huffington Post Italia comments enthusiastically:

“The first goal has already been achieved. The three unions have finally reunited. They are severely weakened by the increase in precarious jobs and the mistakes of the past but determined to resume the fight. And they have been rewarded. Even they hadn't expected such a turnout. The second goal is to openly challenge the government. A 'surprise' for a government that boasts of being the agent of 'change' and has made disintermediation its creed. ... If it wants to change the country, it must do so together with the workers, as [CGIL trade union's Secretary General Maurizio] Landini explained.”