Stockholm (Ekonamik) – Matteo Salvini – the Italian Interior Minister and leader of the Northern League government coalition party – has called for new elections in Italy, following a number of public disagreements with its coalition partner, the Five-Star movement.
The spat between the two government parties seems to have started during the run-up to the election of Ursula von der Leyen as the president of the European Commission, which the Lega opposed while the Five-Star Movement supported. However, it was a recent failed attempt by the Five-Star movement to block a highspeed rail link between the North of Italy and France that seems to have been the trigger of the recent call by Salvini.
While the statement is not a formal dissolution of the Italian government, it may herald it, as the support of Salvini’s Lega and its 37% of seats in Parliament is crucial for the survival of the Italian executive.
At the latest poll conducted on August 9th, Salvini’s Lega enjoyed 38% of voter intentions, according to a poll conducted by Noto. That poll echoed the results of an August 5th poll conducted by Tecne, which gave Lega a similar level of support.
The March 4, 2018 election and the ongoing coalition government has been a boon to the Lega which has gone from enjoying the support of about 17% of the electorate to almost a third. Polls suggest it has been able to attract voters from both the Five-Star Movement as well as from Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI). The opposite trend has been true for the Five-Star movement, whose supporters have not only reached out to Lega but also to the Centre-Left Democratic Party (PD), leaving it with a mere 17.5% of voter intentions on August 9th.
The disparate trends in voter intentions seem to tip the balance of probabilities in favour of Salvini calling for new elections soon.
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