'They played us': Italy's political turmoil angers backers of coalition
Italy 'They played us': Italy's political turmoil angers backers of coalition
Leaders of M5S and the League accused of sabotaging their own bid for power
Even though Italians are more than used to their government lurching from one turmoil to another, anger is emanating from backers of a short-lived coalition of the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League.
âOur lives have become a game in the ha nds of people who have no scruples,â said Marina Mari, who voted for M5S in the 4 March general election that resulted in a hung parliament. âThey [the coalition] played us â" we understand that now, but we didnât before.âMarkets rattled by Italian and Spanish political turmoil - business live Read more
The coalition â" which would have created Italyâs first populist government â" ran into a roadblock in its bid for power on Sunday night when the president, Sergio Mattarella, vetoed its pick for economy minister â" Paolo Savona, an 81-year-old Eurosceptic also described as âradically anti-Germanâ.
While both M5S and the Lega are traditionally Eurosceptic, their individual and joint programmes called for an exit from neither the European single currency nor the EU. Instead, the coalitionâs objective was to seek a renegotiation of European treaties. Giuseppe Conte, the law professor nominated to lead the administration, who resigned on Sunday evening after Mattarella vetoed Savona, had said Italy would remain within the EU.
Francesco Giavazzi, an economics professor at Bocconi University in Milan, said that by backing Savona, Salvini intended to ensure the coalitionâs bid for government failed and that fresh elections would be called. âHis tactic from day one was to go back to elections. He did it in such a way he knew the president would refuse.â
Salviniâs popularity has increased since the March vote, but it remains to be seen if his gamble will pay off. âSalvini is a very good campaigner who has never finished anything in his life,â said Giavazzi. âHe knows that if he campaigns, he wins, but if you give him a real job to do it soon becomes clear that heâs unable to do it.â
About 57% of Italian voters wanted a government whose programme included generous tax cuts, a universal basic income and a raft of hardline policies against illegal immigrants.
After the ev ents of Sunday and Monday, what they have now is another temporary, unelected prime minister who is a europhile. Carlo Cottarelli, a former director at the International Monetary Fund, has been tasked by Mattarella with forming an interim government.
His administration is expected to lose a vote of confidence in parliament, meaning new elections could be held as early as September.
âWe feel conned and trapped â" we wanted a revolution,â said Roberto Percuaio, who lives in Orvieto, Umbria, and backed t he populist coalition. âWhat I canât understand is why Mattarella rejected a government formed by a technocrat [Giuseppe Conte] only to appoint another technocrat the next morning?â
The outcome has left others feeling equally baffled, and with little appetite for a fresh vote. âDid they do it on purpose?â asked Federico Badia, an artisan shoemaker in the central Umbria region. âNow Iâm starting to think we would be better off without a prime minister â" we have the law, the constitution, the country is still working. This could be the next generation of politics â" no prime minister.âWhy is Italy facing a new political crisis? Read more
While most anger seems to be directed at Italyâs political leaders, there are fears that Mattarellaâs veto could lead Italians to support any renewed calls for a referendum on the euro. Many blame the currency for a drop in the standard of living since 1999, but most believe the task of extracting t he country from it is insurmountable.
âThe politicians are the ones who are supposed to have the brilliant minds, so it should be their job to find a solution â" not to leave the euro but to help make life easier for citizens and to help Italy be more competitive within the eurozone,â said Badia.
Gianluca Arcimboldo, a bookshop owner, said that while many Italians harked back to the golden era of the lira, he believed the country would not be strong economically enough to withstand a euro exit now.
Franco Pietrantozzi, a writer, said there was no going back on the euro, but Italians felt a lot of resentment towards the EU because of it. âThe problem was entering the euro in the first place. When the monetary change happened the cost of everything went up overnight,â he said. âBut our politicians didnât object to it, they just did it, like sheep.â
Giavazzi believes if it came to a vote, a large majority would back staying in the curren cy. âItâs mostly the older generation who complain about it, the younger ones donât know any different,â he said. âPeople arenât stupid â" Italy is a country with a very large amount of private savings and most donât want to revert to being paid in lira.âTopics
- Five Star Movement
- European Union
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