Roberto Fico, the new populist (Five Star) President of Italy’s lower house, has raised eyebrows and received high praise for travelling to work by bus.
Although this may have been largely for practical reasons (apparently the queue at the taxi rank was quite long), it has been seen as highly symbolic and garnered national media attention.
For a nation that has long endured their politicians availing themselves of any and all available perks, irrespective of cost or practicality, this has been taken by many as an augur of impending reform.
It remains unclear whether a populist government (a coalition between the League and Five Star) will ultimately form, though obstacles seem less insurmountable and the likelihood may be increasing.
The alternative, and what had seemed a foregone conclusion before the recent election, a right-wing coalition including the League and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, having a collective 37% share of the vote (versus 32% for Five Star) remains possible if not probable.
However, the League outperformed Forza Italia during Italy’s populist surge, calling this arrangement into question; the League is unwilling to be the junior partner as it commanded a greater share of the vote.
The outcome may well rest on personalities more than politics, as to whether the two populist parties can reach an agreement, which would see a government hostile to the Euro and further integration in Europe’s wealthiest southern state, and perhaps the next domino to fall on the road to the demise of the EU.
Disclaimer: The content of this post reflects the views of the author, and not necessarily those of MBGA News.
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