Members of Italy’s new Cabinet were sworn in this week, but questions are already swirling about the government’s staying power. The two new coalition partners—the center-left Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, widely known as the M5S—have a history of animosity and a slew of disagreements on key policy issues. The government must also contend with Matteo Salvini, the head of the far-right League party whose failed bid to force snap elections toppled the previous coalition between the League and the M5S last month. Salvini, who now effectively leads the opposition, can put pressure on the new government in a variety of ways, as Mark Gilbert, a WPR contributor and professor of history and international studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, explains in an interview on this week’s Trend Lines podcast.
The following is a lightly edited excerpt from the podcast. For more, listen to the full conversation with Gilbert, on the prospects for the new government in Italy: