Italy’s anti-mass migration, Eurosceptic Five Star Movement (M5S) is now the most popular party in the country according to three consecutive opinion polls this week.
The results confirm the momentum of the party which has recently captured the mayoralties of Rome, Turin, and seventeen other cities, the Italian capital being won by the charismatic Virginia Raggi — the so-called ‘Trump of Rome’.
The new polls which include a result by Ipsos which shows M5S at 30.6 per cent are impressive for a party in the Italian system which features a significant number of active parties of varying sizes. The governing party of Matteo Renzi trails on 27 per cent.
The new polls are particularly bad news for Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, reports Euractiv, as he has staked his career on a programme of reforms that M5S opposes. He has promised to resign his position should his government lose the forthcoming referendum on his package of reforms for Italy in October.
Italy, like other European nations uses two-round elections which generally have worked to deprive non-establishment parties of office. In France, the Front National has repeatedly been denied power in important regional elections because the two-stage system encourages tactical voting.
This is a problem M5S has managed to avoid by not being clearly left or right wing, instead standing more broadly against corruption and the excesses of the European Union. Support from the anti-mass migration and Eurosceptic, yet distinctly right-wing Lega Nord (Northern League).
One such vote where the M5S has benefitted from Lega Nord support was the Rome contest, where the League leader Matteo Salvini went on record remarking that if he were a Roman he’d vote for M5S candidate Virginia Raggi. The “telegenic” candidate beat her nearest rival by a remarkable 30 points.
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