Broad coalition in Italian government opens space for radical right, says political scientist – 13/02/2021 – Worldwide

The broad coalition formed around the new Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, could promote the growth of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, says political scientist Daniele Albertazzi, professor at the University of Birmingham School of Government in the United Kingdom.

Draghi became this Friday (12) head of the Italian government, after bringing together parties from all political backgrounds under his leadership. This Saturday morning (13), he was sworn in and officially took office.

With the accession of two of the three main right-wing Italian acronyms – the League, led by populist Matteo Salvini, and Italy Force, by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – the Brothers of Italy became the sole force of opposition from the country.

Benefiting from Italian law – which requires proportional representation of votes in the media – opposition leader Giorgia Meloni and other personalities from her party will gain a huge place in debates on Italian television and radio, says Albertazzi, specialist in populism and nationalism.

This is the reason why Salvini initially opposed participation in the new government, according to the political scientist: “He knows that he runs a great risk of seeing the Brothers of Italy defeat the League and demand the right to head. in the next elections ”. The populist leader, however, had to give in to the leaders of northern Italy, mainly Lombardy and Veneto, hence his political support.

According to Albertazzi, it is not surprising that a union considered as an opponent of the European Union joins a Prime Minister fully identified with the European project. “The European question has no importance in the manifestos and the politics of the League. Your MEPs voted for the Lisbon Treaty [que reformou a União Europeia em 2007], and the only caveat they gave to the Constitution was that there should be mention of the Christian faith, which is far from Eurosceptic action.

The broad coalition formed by Draghi actually reflects the interest of politicians in influencing the division of billion dollar post-pandemic recovery funds – up to 209 billion euros (1.3 trillion reais) is expected to start. to pour in from next semester. “Draghi’s office is completely dominated by the north of the country and, unless the government previously implodes in a civil war, the priority of investing in this region could allow Salvini to stay ahead of the curve. right, ”says Albertazzi.

The Birmingham professor notes that choosing a prime minister out of politics in times of crisis is nothing new in Italy. It happened in 1993, with Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, in 1995, with Lamberto Dini, and in 2011, with Mario Monti, and among other causes, he seeks to calm the creditors (Italy has a public debt of 159% of the GDP).

Draghi stood out from his “technocratic” predecessors by appointing a cabinet mostly appointed by coalition members, in a strategy to “force parties to take responsibility,” says Albertazzi.

What surprised the political scientist, however, was the concession to the “usual suspects”. “He named controversial figures who have been in power for years, instead of forcing parties to come up with new names, more women,” he said.

Although he sees violent internal conflicts in the new government as inevitable – “for more money, it will not be everyone’s priority” – the professor recalls that from July there is a shield six months due to the presidential elections. , which would maintain the coalition “by force”.

Ideally, Draghi can command a vigorous economic recovery and become the president of Italy in the future.

At worst, “and, unfortunately, most likely, given the history of Italian politics,” the miracle everyone expects from “Super Mario” (as the new Prime Minister has dubbed it) does not happen. : “Everyone throws themselves on the plate to guarantee a sausage to feed their constituency, and the fund’s money ends up being diverted, in sectoral interests rather than in a national plan”.

In any case, Albertazzi also sees risks in the idea that it takes a technocrat to save the country, which shows how much the credibility of politicians has fallen. “In the past, this has made the 5-Star Movement grow [populista antissistema], and there are always others who are waiting to take advantage of this opportunity ”, underlines the political scientist.

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