Ex-PM Renzi standing up to Salvini

Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has proposed the formation of a caretaker government of technocrats in a bid to prevent the snap election Lega chief Matteo Salvini is pushing for. However, the leader of Renzi's party Nicola Zingaretti has warned against such an experiment. On Friday Lega called for a vote of no-confidence against independent Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Is Lega's rise to power unstoppable?

Open/close all quotes
Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Delay snap election and stop Lega

The Social Democrats should form an alliance with the Five Star Movement, the Süddeutsche Zeitung's Italy correspondent Oliver Meiler recommends:

“The goal of such an - entirely legitimate - pact would be to postpone new elections to slow down the triumphal march for Matteo Salvini and his Lega. ... The counterargument is this: if the Lega is denied the elections it wants, Salvini will only become more popular. Some are risking very adventurous prognoses: from 36 to 60 percent. Really? One wonders why Salvini was in such a hurry to break with Five Star during the summer holidays. ... Could it have something to do with 'Moscopoli', the scandal implicating Lega in a deal with Moscow worth millions of euros? To this day Salvini remains silent on the affair. ... One hopes for the Italians' sake that they are given more time to examine this creepy parvenu. If elections are held soon he will reap the fruits of his rabble-rousing.”

La Stampa (IT) /

When two fight, the third splits up

The social democratic Partito Democratico is once again dividing itself, rails Federico Geremicca, deputy chief editor of La Stampa:

“There's an old saying that goes: when two fight, the third rejoices. The Partito Democratico, however, is even managing to abrogate an old law like this one. ... Because when the PD is the third party, you can be sure it will take the hits. Perhaps it would have been enough to wait 48 hours and content itself with watching the two other parties fight each other. But instead, politically incomprehensible initiatives have landed the party in a situation in which everyone is speaking only for themselves and which is dominated by personal interests.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Salvini understands the people

Many people have had enough of being told by a liberal elite what they should think and how they should live, Magyar Nemzet writes commenting on the situation in Italy:

“Viktor Orbán and Donald Trump were the first to listen to the voice of the majority and their calls for help. And Matteo Salvini has followed them on this path. It's clear that everything Salvini says and each of his appearances are followed by throngs of supporters who are just as enthusiastic as the fans of Orbán and Trump. Like them, Salvini also has the courage to call a spade a spade and break with taboos. What's more he is well able to defend himself against persistently hostile, prejudiced and dishonest media. This kind of demonisation, which the international media practices as one, is unprecedented and reminiscent of the darkest days of the Soviet Union.”

Financial Times (GB) /

EU austerity made Lega's rise possible

Brussels is to blame for the fact that Eurosceptic forces were able to become so strong in countries like Italy, business journalist Wolfgang Münchau comments in the Financial Times:

“If Italy had avoided swingeing austerity under Mario Monti from 2011 to 2013, today's situation may well have been different: the far-right League and the Five Star Movement may not have won the 2018 election and formed a coalition; and Matteo Salvini, the League's leader, would not be on the verge of an absolute power grab. Mortal danger for the EU lies in the emergence of a rational, non-ideological case against European integration. And the EU itself must share the blame for creating the conditions for it.”

Népszava (HU) /

All his calculations have worked out so far

Salvini was just waiting for the moment when Lega together with the far-right party Brothers of Italy could win a majority, the left-wing daily Népszava believes:

“He was just looking for an opportunity to end the coalition with Luigi Di Maio and saw last Thursday's vote on the high-speed train as the best option. The Lega politicians then voted with him against the deputies of the Five Star Movement. So far every political calculation Salvini - who has a very good relationship with the Hungarian prime minister - has made has worked out. The Orbán style of politics is also claiming victims in Italy. There are many reasons for this. One is that the EU still hasn't managed to agree on how to distribute the refugees.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Salvini's plan could fail

It is doubtful that Salvini will soon be able to govern on his own, Vecernji list comments:

“The fact that if early elections are held he could manage to secure enough votes was what prompted Salvini to trigger a crisis in his own government. Salvini was also the one setting the rhythm for this government so far. His ideas were implemented and those of his coalition partner under the second deputy prime minister Luigi di Maio were collectively forgotten. ... However, in recent years no leader in Italy or elsewhere in Europe has benefited from toppling their own government to secure more votes. The Italians burned their fingers with Mussolini and don't want to repeat that mistake. Salvini may have shot an own goal here.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Everyone looking out for their own interests

Lega leader Salvini is meeting with growing opposition to his plans for a snap election in Italy. In the end everyone is focussed on their own interests, Corriere della Sera gripes:

“Salvini wants elections in order to 'take advantage of the consensus'. The Five Star Movement doesn't want elections for the opposite reason. According to the polls it has lost half of its votes, which is why it is even open to a government supported by its arch-enemies from the PD. The first PD politician who gave the signal for this is everyone's arch-enemy, Renzi, who (rumour has it) doesn't want to lose control of the parliamentary groups. ... All the protagonists seem to be driven by special interests, however not those of their party but their own personal interests.”

La Croix (FR) /

Landslide victory anything but certain

It's by no means clear that Lega's leader will soon be Italian PM, La Croix counters:

“No matter what the current polls are saying, it's by no means certain that Matteo Salvini will one day rule in Rome. Several times in Europe in recent years far-right parties have tripped up on their way to power after voters see through their simple solutions. And the Italian institutions provide an additional safeguard. ... So Europeans can remain calm in view of the difficulties which are plaguing a historic partner and the third-largest economy in the Eurozone. We must support the Italian institutions and show that the best way to face global challenges is by standing side by side.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Who's left holding the baby?

Mutual recriminations are pointless, rails La Repubblica:

“A government on its last legs is now subjecting the nation to a final humiliation: the question now is who should take responsibility for the government crisis, or in other words, who will be left holding the baby. As if this makes any sense. As if only one of the two coalition parties could be held responsible for the catastrophes of the past 14 months. But even if they continue to blame each other it will change nothing about the situation. The deficit of the yellow-green coalition is its populism. The minute populists are forced to confront reality, they fail.”

888.hu (HU) /

The collapse of the goverment was predictable

It was really only a matter of time before the coalition of the far-right Lega and the Five Star Movement collapsed, according to the right-wing conservative news website 888:

“The Lega, which emerged from the European elections in May as the strongest Italian party, basically took over the government of the Five Star Movement, which only secured half as many votes - namely 17 percent. According to the Italian press, the Five Star Movement was therefore forced to agree to tighten restrictions on migration. It also means that it cannot prevent the construction of a railway line that will require entire mountains to be cleared - even though it initially started out as an environmental movement. It was clear: if it put up resistance, the government would collapse. Then there will be snap elections which Lega will win, and as a result Salvini will become prime minister.”