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Giuseppe Conte resigns as Italian prime minister

The nationalists in Italy split over party politics

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Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte resigned today in anticipation of a no-confidence vote by the Northern League Party. Matteo Salvini, deputy prime minister, and a leader of the Northern League Party stated that he could no longer work with the Five Star Movement, which Conte is associated with. Both parties are nationalist, populist and share policies. However, the Five Star Movement is much more environmentally oriented, more secular, and has less political power.

Source of Conflict

The major source of conflict between the two organizations has been the Northern League Party dramatically overtaking the Five Star Movement in the public polls. Salvini had previously attempted to hold an early vote to take advantage of his current poll numbers and secure the premiership, but was blocked. Conte has also criticized Salvini in the past for the open use of religious symbolism in public political events.

Conte’s Speech to the senate

In a speech to the senate today, Conte lambasted the deputy prime minister Salvini. Conte accused him of putting party interests above national interests. Salvini has been accused by the wider media of opportunism. A look at Salvini’s Twitter feed shows no mention of Conte, and instead a collection of vague anti-immigrantion postings and appeals to patriotism.

Salvini later withdrew his push for a no-confidence vote as Conte resigned and amid public distress, but this was criticized as Salvini avoiding responsibility.

Future Election

If the Five Star Movement chooses to ally itself with a more longtime enemy: the Italian Democratic Party (PD), it can postpone the election, however they would have to draw up an appealing unified platform. The Five Star Movement has made gestures to this in the past, and it remains to be seen which action it takes.

Liberal media outlets have broad-brushed this event as the Northern League Party pushing it’s citizens to the social right. However, others blame the for-profit media. There exists a grassroots sentiment that the larger Italian media sphere is accelerating Salvini’s success through clickbaity reporting to the point where it might backfire on Salvini in the long run.

The nationalists in Europe have been insurgent much more successfully in Europe than in the United States. It remains to be seen if this latest political move by the most powerful nationalists in Italy bolsters their insurgency or hinders it. Pushing a coup of your own coalition to secure more power is of course risky.

Conte’s Legacy

The five star movement is a populist, anti-immigrant, environmental, and degrowth movement. Conte arrived as prime minister on a platform of a flat tax, reduction of net financial assets available to the private sector per year, deregulation, a decrease in pay of politicians, workfare for families, and more universal cash handouts to the old.

While in office, Conte oversaw greater efforts to deport illegal immigrants. He supported loosening sanctions against Russia and supported American president Trump’s call to let Russia back into the G7.

Conte has a background in law and is a devout catholic.

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CC-BY-4.0 © European Union 20XY – Source: EP (not endorsed or associated with this site)

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