How Will The Italian Political Situation Change After The Pandemic?

The pandemic has revealed that the Italian political system is vulnerable. And that's not going to change.

Italian Parliament’ by Michiel Jelijs / CC 2.0

The pandemic reveals how vulnerable the Italian political system is. And that’s not going to change.

Italy is one of the countries where coronavirus has hit harder. Still today, more than 210,000 cases and 29,000 deaths place the nation 3rd in the world, behind the U.S. and Spain.

Since the virus rate was ballooning, the government brought about a strict, social distancing policy. After two months of quarantine, the Italian cabinet ushered the infamous phase two, freeing 4 million workers previously doing their job from home.

Although the popularity rating of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is ramping up, the opposition is running him down since the outbreak. From fake news to shameful charges, especially some Italian right-wing parties are anything but silent.

It is true, indeed, that leaders of the ruling majority overlooked the pandemic. For instance, the leader of the Democratic Party Nicola Zingaretti probably got the virus while assuaging people in a bar in Milan. On the other hand, opposition politicians frequently changed their minds, like The League’s leader Matteo Salvini. He is famous for shifting his opinion at random about opening and closing every business.

In the middle of this complete and utter confusion, let’s try to bring order to the Italian political chaos. What are the parties’ plans to get Italians back on their feet? How likely will new political groups rise?

The ruling parties are getting their own back on European elections

After the 2019 polls for the European assembly, it was only a matter of time until a government collapse. The League’s influence on the Italian political situation was waxing, thanks to its 34.3%. That upshot was astonishing since the Democrats held second place, trailing by 12 percentage points.

A year later, the picture is thoroughly different. Although The League maintains first place, surveys state that its consensus is dramatically dropping. Matteo Salvini’s party has only 24.9% support. On the other hand, Democrats and the Five Star Movement achieve support by 22.9% and 16.8%, respectively.

Interestingly, the coronavirus outbreak is ramping up public acclaim for the cabinet. For instance, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is the most popular leader, climbing to a 64% record in April. In February, his support was at 52%.

Polls point out that Italians like Giuseppi‘s way. He did not hit the snooze button and pushed forward with a harsh, 2-month quarantine. Facts back the Prime Minister up since infections are dwindling.

Albeit confinement policies are working, an enormous question mark is the budgetary policy. After a €400 billion cash injection, entrepreneurs are still fighting against taxes and bills. Besides, many self-employed workers are still waiting for the €600 bonus from the Social Security Institute.

The issue is about the majority upholding the Prime Minister. The Five Star Movement and the Democrats pretend to be on the same wavelength while quarreling about every provision. Brawls between those parties have been stalling the new economic decree for a month. The grim reality is that only the emergency is keeping the cabinet afloat.

The outbreak has brought the economy to a near halt and left millions of people out of work. If the government cannot reverse the -9.5% GDP downward trend, Giuseppe Conte is over.

Opposing forces are not staying the course

On the other side of the fence, the outbreak puts right-wing parties through the wringer. There is a great deal of confusion, especially between Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni. The former is leading The League, the latter Brothers of Italy, an extreme sovereignist movement.

What do they have in common? Apart from fostering hatred of Giuseppe Conte, they share absolutely nothing. They have been striking out at the Prime Minister for signing the European Stability Mechanism (a monetary fund providing financial assistance to European countries) when it is self-evident that a right-wing government endorsed it between 2011 and 2012. A seraphic Giuseppe Conte publicly denounced their misleading news during a marathon press conference.

Besides, their proposals seem all but feasible. Putting forth a tax and building amnesty or a thousand-Euro bonus for everyone is demagogy, not a solution.

Matteo Salvini is at loggerheads with Giorgia Meloni. The last bone of contention was his rally against the government since many businesses are still closed during the outbreak’s phase two. Instead of joining Salvini’s demonstration, Meloni mounted a detached protest. Blame from The League was not long in coming.

Eventually, allies look divided to an unusual degree. In this turmoil, the conservative, old hand leader Silvio Berlusconi seems ready to join the war-room by picking holes in sovereignism and supporting the cabinet. Bye-bye, dear allies.

The political landscape is more fragmented than ever before

The situation portrays a worrisome scenario, where nobody is dependable enough to receive widespread trust. Surveys bear it out, as almost 40% of Italians are wavering. That share can represent an electoral constituency for a conceivable, pro-European, reformist, and middle-on-the-road party. People are tired of braggarts whose sole aims are whipping people up into hatred. Founding a new moderate front would gather a broad consensus among Italian constituents and eventually boost the European integration.

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