Sardinian elections: Italy facing more turmoil?
The Five Star Movement has suffered a defeat in the regional election in Sardinia, securing roughly ten percent of the vote - compared with over 40 percent in the 2018 general election. The centre-right coalition between autonomous regional parties and Lega emerged as the winner. Europe's press discusses what the vote means for the populist coalition in Rome and for the European elections.
The five stars are burning out
For Der Standard the dwindling popularity of the Five Star Movement is tragic:
“Five Star's members were never able to make their predominance felt in government. On the contrary: Lega leader Matteo Salvini has been leading his inexperienced, for the most part clueless coalition partners around like dancing bears. This will continue until Salvini no longer needs them and decides to let the government collapse to get rid of Giuseppe Conte as prime minister. But there's nothing to gloat about: many of Beppe Grillo's ideas and proposals were right. And for hundreds of thousands of unemployed youths in the impoverished south, the Five Star Movement was like a last, vague hope. Now all they have left is the Milanese boor Salvini, who called them 'stinking loafers' not so long ago.”
Italy will have a sturdy far-right party
The League is gaining momentum, writes Journal 21:
“The League is expected to secure strong results in the European elections in May, which are seen as an acid test. It's likely that the League leader will then topple the government and cast off the weakened Cinque Stelle, which is far removed from him in terms of ideology. On Friday the Fitch agency predicted new elections for the second half of this year. After that Salvini would no doubt try to absorb the ailing Berlusconi party Forza Italia and the post-fascist party Fratelli d’Italia. Italy would then have a strong, sturdy populist far-right party. With a leader whose self-confidence is very much intact and who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.”
Power of tradition underestimated
The election points to a return to the past, columnist Antonio Polito writes in Corriere della Sera:
“When the present disappoints, the past sparkles. ... Voters appear to be feeling nostalgia for the old right-left bipoliarity that pronounced the self-proclaimed Third Republic dead and buried and replaced by a new bipolarity between the people and the elites. ... In short, the course of events disproves the strategic hypothesis on which the strange yellow-green [Lega-Five Star] alliance was based. In the structure of the country the oldest and most traditional alliances are showing signs of a resilience and strong roots that may perhaps have been underestimated.”