Internal Divisions Sank Italy’s Last Government. Will Its New One Fare Any Better?

Internal Divisions Sank Italy’s Last Government. Will Its New One Fare Any Better?
Italian Deputy Prime Ministers Matteo Salvini, right, and Luigi Di Maio during question time at the Chamber of Deputies, in Rome, Feb. 13, 2019 (ANSA photo by Fabio Frustaci via AP Images).

After weeks of political turmoil, Italy is set to have a new government, as the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, widely known as the M5S, has agreed to form a coalition with the center-left Democratic Party. The previous government, a partnership between the M5S and the far-right, anti-immigrant League party, collapsed last month after League leader Matteo Salvini filed a no-confidence motion in his own government in an effort to trigger new elections and take advantage of his rising popularity in opinion polls. The gambit backfired, however, when the M5S agreed to join together with the Democratic Party under the continued leadership of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

On this week’s Trend Lines interview, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by Mark Gilbert, a WPR contributor and professor of history and international studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies’ campus in Bologna, Italy. They discuss the prospects for the new Italian coalition, the obstacles it will need to overcome in order to govern effectively, and the implications for Rome’s approach toward the European Union and the contentious issue of immigration.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Italy’s Populist Government Is a Marriage of Convenience. How Long Can It Last?
Salvini’s Migrant Crackdown in Italy Is Creating a Crisis, Not Solving One
On Immigration, Italy’s Government Faces an Unlikely Foe: Local Officials
Italy’s Populists Aren’t the Only Ones to Blame in Its Budget Battle With the EU

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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