Will Salvini torpedo Italy's coalition?
While Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has received a boost through the victory of his right-wing nationalist Lega party in the EU elections, his coalition partner, the Five Star Movement, has suffered severe losses. Salvini is now threatening to dissolve the government unless his plans, especially for a flat tax, are approved. His muscle-flexing horrifies some critics and amuses others.
First, enjoy the cat and mouse game
Salvini isn't in any hurry to dissolve the coalition, comments Alessandro De Angelis, deputy editor of Huffington Post Italia:
“The first to be surprised by Matteo are his own party comrades. All of them advised him to cash in his chips [and dissolve the government]. Knowing full well that he alone decides. ... And Salvini ended up choosing to keep the game going, in a climate where he feels like a god, or like he's the head of government already. For him, the issue is less about triggering the breakup of the coalition than about enjoying the situation to the full. The head of Lega knows that the country is behind him, whereas his allies tremble at the prospect of early elections.”
Berlusconi's heirs could be the kingmakers
Italy could soon end up permanently in the hands of the far right, El Periódico de Catalunya fears:
“The result of the European elections allows Salvini to look with confidence to an early election. At the same time it confirms the Five Star movement's fear of major losses. ... In other words: There is the danger that after a snap election the far right will control the political situation, together with Berlusconi's heirs, who are currently still dispersed. All this is the result of a highly volatile party system that is not up to the challenge of a serious social crisis.”
Salvini should quickly drop his plans to reduce taxes while at the same time launching new social programmes, urges the Tages-Anzeiger:
“Italy can't afford it. Its national debts are growing - they've almost reached 133 percent of the gross domestic product. ... And since the Italian economy is stagnant, nothing much is going to change for a while. Which means there is little scope to redesign the coming budget. And Salvini knows it, too, which is why he's grumbling. He also knows that the European regulations, all of which Italy has incorporated into its national legislation, can't be changed overnight. Nobody wants this - not even his new friends in the European Parliament, his allies from the 'International of Sovereigntists'.”
Salvini shouldn't fly too close to the sun
The Lega leader should learn his lesson from Greece's crisis, Naftemporiki finds:
“Salvini has shown that he can charm the Italian people and get them on his side. Strengthened politically, he is showing the Brussels technocrats how powerful he is. And he's doing the same on the home front too, threatening to topple the government if there's no consensus on tax reductions. Perhaps he should remember Greece, and what price that country has paid for the loss of confidence on the markets. He should remember the Greek myths and take care not to burn his wings like Icarus did when he thought he could reach the sun.”