Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

Salvini calls for new elections in Italy

  • Matteo Salvini has been conducting an unofficial summer-long election campaign on Italy's beaches (Photo: quirinale.it)

Italy's deputy prime minister and League leader, Matteo Salvini, has called for new elections in October.

Salvini said "it's like with a married couple. If you put more time in exchanging insults and arguments than in making love, you need the courage to look into each other's eyes and take an adult decision."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Salvini demanded both chambers of parliament come back from holiday to prove that the current government has no majority.

"The members of parliament of the League are ready on Monday or Tuesday, or even on Sunday if necessary", he declared.

Salvini also stated that he is candidate for prime minister and that his candidacy is what the elections will be about. He refused a government of "experts", saying the "it's up to the Italians to decide again".

The train that split the government

The governing coalition of the populist Five Star Movement and the hard-right League has been fighting over several issues in its brief life of a little more than one year.

Deputy prime minister Luigi di Maio and prime minister Giuseppe Conte, both from the Five Star Movement, were never happy with the way Salvini tackled migration.

They only reluctantly agreed to Salvini's refusal to let ships enter Italian ports, after having rescued migrants in the Mediterranean.

The final straw that broke the camel's back was not migration, but the approval in parliament to continue with the construction of the high-speed train between Lyon and Turin, the so-called Treno Alta Velocità (TAV).

The multibillion-euro project involves a tunnel through the Alps, a huge investment in which the EU would participate financially for 40 percent.

However, the Five Star Movement strongly opposed the TAV, for being too expensive and therefore limiting other investments in Italy's economy. They promised that with them in government the TAV project would be stopped.

However, this week the TAV was approved with an alternative majority during the last session of the parliament before the start of the recess.

Prime minister Conte realised that his government could not continue this way and proposed to Italy's president Sergio Mattarella to form a "government of experts".

Polls put Salvini ahead

As Salvini believes in "permanent campaigning", he already started this week with a tour on Italy's beaches, where he would talk to people in his swimming trunks.

On these beaches he not only gave speeches, but took the time for people wanting to take selfies with the bare-chested politician. He also played music as a DJ on beach parties.

It is unlikely that it were these beach gatherings alone that convinced the deputy prime minister to call for snap elections.

On the same day prime minister Conte made the suggestion of a government of experts, an opinion poll of Ipsos came out.

According to this poll, the League would get 36 percent of the votes, double what the Five Star Movement would get. The Democratic Party (PD) would reach around 20 percent.

Due to the Italian electoral system where the largest party receives a bonus in parliamentary seats, League would only need a small party like the far-right Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) in order to have a majority in parliament.

It is clear that this opinion poll gave Salvini enough confidence to play the game hard and call for early elections.

There is one issue however that might play against early elections. The League said it wanted a European commissioner with an important portfolio in the next Commission.

If the League pulls out of the coalition and heads for elections in autumn, that dream will most likely fall into pieces.

Feature

Italy train row exposes competing views of EU

A planned high-speed railway connection through the Alps between Italy and France has been highly controversial for decades and is pitting governing Italian coalition parties against each other. But the European Commission insists it must go ahead.

Salvini triumphs in Italy

The League, Italy's far-right party, doubled its vote in European elections compared to the national elections in 2018, while the other governing party, the Five Star Movement (M5S), lost half of its voters.

Italy: Conte won, Salvini lost

Italy's far-right deputy leader, Matteo Salvini, wanted it all. He gambled on elections, but instead he got a new government composed of his arch-enemies and himself out in the cold.

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  2. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  3. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears
  4. Finland: EU 'not brain dead' on enlargement
  5. The labour market is not ready for the future
  6. Parliament should have 'initiation' role
  7. AI skewed to young, male, and western EU, report warns
  8. US and EU go separate ways on Israeli settlers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us