Rome Giuseppe Conte was supposed to appear at the World Economic Forum in Davos this Thursday. The Italian prime minister would have solicited investors there, answered questions about the stability of his government, and presented himself as a guarantee of Italy’s predictability – as Conte has been doing for months. But he canceled the trip at short notice.
The rejection shows how drastic Luigi Di Maio’s resignation is. The 33-year-old resigned the chair of the Five Star Movement on Wednesday. This exacerbates the difficult situation of the Italian government – and of all four days before the important regional elections in Emilia-Romagna and Calabria.
So far, the demos in the “red” Emilia-Romagna, the rich and industrial region with the capital Bologna, have predicted a head-to-head race between the candidates for the PD and the Lega of Matteo Salvini in the struggle for the post of prime minister ,
The five stars compete with their own candidates. That was another reason for Luigi Di Maio’s resignation. He did not want his own candidates, but had been overruled by his own party base. According to surveys, the five stars will collapse like all votes since the European elections. Di Maio does not want to be held responsible for an election loss.
“The government has ended,” Salvini commented on Wednesday that Di Maios resigned. The Lega boss is the greatest threat to Contes coalition government. His party is spreading across the country and had already conquered Umbria, which was just as traditional on the left, in autumn. If the Lega wins the regional elections this Sunday, new elections are at least getting closer. The Lega, which is still the strongest force in polls with more than 30 percent, would have a good chance of winning the election.
But even if Salvini should win on Sunday, the government should not fail so quickly. Nevertheless, the regional elections could have a negative impact on the shaky alliance in Rome. This is at odds with almost every topic: from the planned tax cuts, the judicial reform to the upcoming decision, the concessions for the motorways and the toll. Other decisions such as the future of the loss-making Alitalia have been postponed.
Signs of dissolution in the five stars
The regional elections are another test of the government. Prime Minister Conte has postponed the coalition summit announced in January to set priorities for government work until the end of the 2023 legislature until after the Sunday election. This shows how big the fear is in Rome.
The ruling party PD could help the “sardines” this weekend. The grassroots movement, which had a huge influx in a very short time with its anti-Salvini course and is close to the Social Democrats, does not run as a separate party in the regional elections. However, it can be assumed that many supporters of the “sardines” will vote against Salvini and thus improve the chances of the PD.
The five-star coalition is primarily held together by the common goal of preventing new elections. The parliamentary majority has shrunk because many MPs and senators have left the government camp and changed sides. After their great success in the last election after Di Maio’s resignation, the Five Stars are in a process of dissolution.
In this constellation there is no thought of active politics, which Italy urgently needs. It is a small miracle that the 2020 dispute between the coalitioners was approved in good time and EU criminal proceedings were averted. The budget is not a big hit, economists commented. There are no measures to reduce the deficit and public debt. This is exactly what the International Monetary Fund has just warned about.
Premier Conte had managed one thing since September: Italy was back in Europe and again predictable as a partner. That was just seen at the Libya conference. A victory for Salvini in the weekend elections would quickly jeopardize the painstakingly built trust in the third largest economy in the eurozone.
More: Five-star boss Di Maio resigns.