ROME — A significant majority of Italians would have preferred snap elections rather than the unelected coalition government that excluded their most popular party, a national poll revealed Thursday.
If elections were held today, the Lega (League) party would handily take first place with 33.3 percent of the votes, with the second-place Democrat Party (PD) trailing at just 23 percent. The Five Star Movement comes next with 19.7 percent followed by Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party at 7.8 percent and Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) with 7 percent. Bringing up the rear are the More Europe party at 2.6 and the Left at a mere 1.8 percent.
Despite the League’s popularity, the current government was cobbled together in August without them in a last-ditch effort to avoid national elections. Together, the Five Star Movement and the Democrat Party (PD) were able to scrape together just enough seats to form a government, although the willingness of Five Star — which has defined itself as populist and anti-establishment — to form a government with the ultra-establishment PD left onlookers as well as its own members perplexed.
The poll, conducted by EMG Acqua, found that 48 percent of voters have little or no confidence in the recently launched executive, with only 30 percent saying that have much or some confidence in the coalition government.
Well over half of Italian (58 percent) said that the August government crisis should have been resolved with snap elections while 39 percent said that forging a new executive was the way to go.
Unsurprisingly, over three quarters of PD voters (78 percent) said they were happy that Italians did not go back the voting booth, since their party would never have wound up in the advantageous position they now occupy.
Similarly, among Five Star supporters, only 39 percent would have preferred to go to the polls versus 60 percent who believe things worked out better for them without elections.
Nonetheless, 45 percent of Five Star voters consider the alliance with the PD to be a mistake.
Asked how they view the new coalition government, 30 percent of Italians describe it as left wing and 47 percent consider it center-left. Only ten percent of respondents consider the coalition to be centrist.
Regarding individual politicians, Giuseppe Conte holds the position of greatest trust, with 43 percent of Italians backing him. Following close behind is Lega leader Matteo Salvini at 41 percent, and then Giorgia Meloni at 29 percent and Luigi Di Maio at 27 percent. Nicola Zingaretti is in fifth place with 24 percent and Berlusconi at 18 percent.
In recent comments, Mr. Salvini said that the Five Star Movement and the PD were cowards for not letting the Italian people vote in an early election.
“The only mistake I have is that I was naive. I thought I was living in a democratic country,” Salvini said.