The 5 Star Movement fulfills its threat and pushes Italy towards a new government crisis | International

The Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, during the press conference last Tuesday.
The Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, during the press conference last Tuesday.ANGELO CARCONI (EFE)

The Aventine is one of the seven hills of Rome, occupied today by upper social classes and international embassies. But in 494 a. C., when the patricians used their power to impose laws that displeased the plebeians, they used a form of strike in which they retired to that mount and stopped participating in public life. That protest movement was used for the first time as a political metaphor during the fascist government of Benito Mussolini, when 130 opposition deputies decided not to return to Parliament in protest at the kidnapping of the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti, who was found dead after two months. . A century later, the 5 Star Movement (M5S) has once again resorted to that Aventine, which returns cyclically to Italian politics and which on Thursday morning materialized with the absence of the anti-system formation in a key vote in the Senate that opens a government crisis. The Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, is already in the Quirinal Palace consulting with the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, about his possible resignation.

The threat from the Aventine was consummated at the Madama Palace, seat of the Italian Senate, around 2:00 p.m. The crickets, just as its leader, Giuseppe Conte, had announced the night before, they did not participate in the vote on an important decree of aid to citizens that included a motion of confidence in the Unity Executive. The scuffle over various issues – the war in Ukraine, measures against inflation, citizen income… – had been heating up spirits for days. But the political gesture of the Senate now results in irreconcilable violence and places the M5S outside the Executive. An act of enormous irresponsibility, given the situation in the country and the reasons given for the breakup, which leaves little room to avoid early elections in the fall.

The former president of the European Central Bank had warned during the last month that a government without the M5S would cease to make sense and that he would not be willing to continue leading another Executive in which the grilins were absent. No one seemed to listen to him until now. But frightened by the threat of elections that are now convenient for few parties (particularly the M5S), the anti-system formation left the door open for a dialogue after the parliamentary session this Thursday that could rebuild unity. One of his ministers, Federico D’Incà, even proposed disassociating in extremis the voting of the decree of the confidence motion to avoid the catastrophe. But it was already late. And Draghi himself rejected it. In addition, another political actor had already joined the conflict.

The leader of La Liga, Matteo Salvini, also urgently needed to mark his own profile due to the loss of support in recent months, smelled the disbandment and signed up for the órdago. “If the M5S is absent from the vote, we will terminate the government majority: enough with wars, threats and delays. We must give the floor to the Italians”, he announced the night before. A movement that responds exclusively to the fear of remaining in a technocratic Executive at the gates of an election, but which greatly complicates the situation and President Mattarella’s room for maneuver to keep the legislature afloat.

The head of state will try to convince Draghi this Thursday that there are still combinations that would allow the legislature to be extended until next year in order to approve the latest major reforms and the transcendental budget law. But the prime minister, accustomed to keeping his word, has already warned that he will not lead another Cabinet.

The elections right now only suit the far-right Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy. Her party today has around 25% support in the polls and, if the electoral law is not reformed and the right-wing coalition remains united (La Liga, Hermanos de Italia and Forza Italia), the Executive will pass into the hands of said ideological spectrum. Salvini would be reduced to a minority partner in the coalition there and his personal interest could also mitigate the threat of leaving the government that he launched on Wednesday night. But both his party and Forza Italia were compact on Thursday morning and focused their strategy on calling elections, which should be held after the summer.

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The political crisis comes at the worst time for Italy. The transalpine country has lowered its growth forecast several times and is facing an extremely difficult autumn, with runaway inflation and the permanent threat of the risk premium, which rose around 220 points on Thursday morning.

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