Professors Explain How Italian General Election May Impact Country's Future

Sputnik spoke with James Newell, Professor of Politics at the University Of Salford, and Professor Leila Simona Talani, Professor of International Political Economy at King’s College London to gain further insight onto how the election will impact Italy and the EU.

The Italian general election has resulted in a hung parliament, whilst right-leaning parties have gained significant ground. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party came in first with 37% of votes. The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement; founded by controversial comedian Beppe Grillo only a decade ago, saw its support soar to become Italy's largest single party, receiving around 31%. While the ruling centre-left coalition won around 23% of the vote, putting them in third place.

Sputnik: How will these election results impact Italy and the EU?

James Newell: Things are changing minute by minute. The two great winners of the election are the nationalist populist movement and anti-establishment Five Star movement. Probably what will happen is that, Salvini who leads the league has basically said that he will not contemplate any kind of government other than a government that is led by the centre-right.

The Centre-Right coalition is the largest formation, the largest single party is the Five Star movement and the great loser is Silvio Berlusconi.
Most commentators are ruling out the possibility of an agreement between the Five Star movement and the league,  essentially because their electorates are more or less incompatible, so I think what will happen between these two large aggregations, is that everything will depend on the centre left PD party for how Italy’s future will pan out.

Whether they would be prepared to sustain a government office led by the Five Star movement, or by the Centre Right remains to be seen. It looks incredibly uncertain; we’re in a state of complete un-governability.

Both the Five Star Party and the League have rather strong Euro sceptic credentials, and have called for a referendum on Italy’s membership in the Euro. Salvini stated that the Euro was now finished and that there needs to be a re-negotiation of the EU treaties, so on both counts this looks rather worrying for Europe I would say.

I think the real divide now in Italian politics, is not the divide between left and right, but the divide between the establishment and anti-establishment. Over 50% of the Italian electorate now supports populist parties of one kind or another.

Sputnik: Could we see an EU referendum in Italy?

Leila Simona Talani: I don’t think we’ll see anything like this; it’s still difficult to say who exactly will be the prime minister because it’s unlikely that the Five Star Movement will have an agreement with the Lega Nord. The Lega Nord however have already stated that they will not promote the idea of a referendum on the Euro or EU membership.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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