HuffPo Freak-Out: Italy to Have One of the ‘Most Radical and Populist’ Governments

Far right League leader Matteo Salvini and the leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement Luigi Di Maio are both eyeing a government role after an inconclusive general election
AFP

The Huffington Post has gone into conniptions over the approval of Italy’s new prime minister Giuseppe Conte, warning that the country has now embarked on the road to perdition.

In Wednesday’s article, HuffPo writer Nick Robins-Early said that President Sergio Mattarella had approved the country’s “far-right and anti-establishment parties’ nominee” for prime minister, “putting the nation on track to have one of the most populist and radical administrations in all of Europe.”

Robins-Early insists on calling the Lega Party “far-right,” despite the fact that it ran as part of the center-right coalition and has at least two significant parties well to the right of it, namely, the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) and the Casa Pound.

The article also hastens to underscore Giuseppe Conte’s “lack of governing experience,” when this factor is considered an asset rather than a liability to the Italian voters who came forward with a decisive vote of repudiation of the old guard.

For the last week European establishment politicians have been wringing their hands and issuing warnings that Eurosceptic parties like the League and the 5-Stars cannot possibly navigate Italy out of its current woes.

In the end, Italian president Sergio Mattarella—himself no friend to anti-establishment parties—had no choice but to respect the will of Italian voters and allow the victors to set up a coalition government.

All of this spells disaster for the future of both Italy and the European Union (EU), Robins-Early laments.

“The new populist government sets Italy up for a clash with the EU and brings more uncertainty for the country’s already fractured politics,” he says, while somehow missing that it was years of government by the languishing Democratic Party (PD) that got Italy where it is today.

“Both Lega and Five Star hold anti-migrant, anti-European Union views and look to bring the country closer to Russia through lifting economic sanctions against the Kremlin,” he declares.

While this dire warning is clearly meant to frighten readers of the Huffington Post, it has the opposite effect on many Italian citizens, who have been growing more and more concerned over their country’s inaction in the face of mass immigration and the casual yielding of sovereignty to the European Union.

The complete reconfiguration of the Italian political landscape has no upside for observers from the left, who have seen their world slowly come crumbling apart, first with the Brexit vote in the UK, followed by the election of Donald Trump in 2016, and now with the victory of anti-establishment parties in Italy.

“The traditional Italian party system disappeared many elections ago,” said Sheri Berman, a professor of politics at Barnard College. “What you’re seeing now is the detritus of that ― which is a mess.”

Berman told HuffPo that “critics are concerned that the new government’s radical social and economic policies will turn Italy into the latest ‘sick man of Europe.’”

Curiously, Ms. Berman seems unaware that Italy has been a “sick man” for some time now, and the remedy for sickness is never more of the same poison.

Robins-Early complains of Matteo Salvini’s strong nationalist rhetoric and willingness to call radical Islam by name, suggesting that by doing so he is “stirring dark memories of political violence in Italy’s past.”

The left’s predictable aversion to the triumph of populist parties in Italy and its seeming unwillingness to explore the deeper reasons behind shifting public opinion have left it in the unenviable position of sulking in a corner and taking potshots at the victors.

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