Italy has been hit by a government crisis for nearly a week, after the strongman of the government and head of the far-right party, Matteo Salvini, demanded on August 8 the organization of elections legislative elections. At the same time, it unleashed the populist coalition - made up of the League and the 5-Star Movement (M5S) - which had been in power for fourteen months.
This wish to dissolve the two chambers, that of the deputies and that of the Senate, owes nothing to chance for the far-right leader: he thus tries to impose his political agenda to obtain Italian voters "the full powers" the most quickly possible. "Matteo Salvini has an electoral dynamic - triumph in the European elections, victories in municipal and regional elections - reinforced by extremely flattering polls for him", explains to France 24 Marc Lazar, professor of history and political sociology and director of the Center history of Sciences Po.
Electoral successes added to a situation internal to the League that Matteo Salvini had to manage. "A significant part of his party demanded the end of this alliance with the M5S, continues Marc Lazar, because it considered that it was not favorable to the proposals of the League." The latest dissension to date, which has also used by Matteo Salvini as a pretext for the end of the populist coalition in power, was the project of rail link between Lyon and Turin. The M5S is opposed - it had made the stoppage of this site one of the central promises of his program - while the League is favorable
Matteo Salvini wants to "govern alone or with the Brothers of Italy"
Despite a political situation that seems favorable, Matteo Salvini must accelerate the pace with regard to several deadlines that loom in the autumn, including the vote on the reduction of the number of parliamentarians - which would delay several weeks the dissolution of both Houses - and the vote of the Italian budget for the year 2020.
"The vote on the budget is a banana-skin issue: it promises to be explosive this autumn because there will be no budgetary rigor [as the European Commission wishes, Ed]," explains Jean-Pierre Darnis, Senior Lecturer and specialist from Italy, contacted by France 24. "This could lead to an automatic increase in VAT in Italy." For its 2019 budget to be accepted by Brussels, Rome has indeed signed a "safeguard clause", which provides for an increase in VAT if the country's public finances were not able to post resources to lower the deficit.
Matteo Salvini also hopes to vote the 2020 finance law if he had to win any early parliamentary elections. According to Marc Lazar, the head of the Italian government "does not want to be forced to make compromises with the M5S." And he adds: "These early elections would ensure him to have alone - or with Brothers of Italy, a party even more on the right that it - a parliamentary majority, and therefore to be able to govern alone or in coalition with this ally ".
The M5S and the PD "may overcome their past enmities"
It seems that the Italian Senate wanted to counter the timing and ambitions of Matteo Salvini by deciding that the debate on the motion of no confidence against the government of Giuseppe Conte would take place on August 20 and not the 14th as desired by the League.
This was without counting on the opposition of the M5S and Democratic Party (PD) senators. The two parties are not allies, however. Nevertheless, "they had a convergence of vote and direction to block something important, the full powers of Matteo Salvini," says Ludmila Acone, historian and associate researcher at Paris 1 University, contacted by France 24. "But this convergence could lead to something else."
To prevent such an alliance from coming into being and counteracting his plans, Matteo Salvini wants early elections to be organized as quickly as possible. According to Marc Lazar, "negotiations are underway to see if this alliance could turn into a new majority, and therefore the constitution of a new government that would avoid the organization of elections as soon as possible."
In case of early elections, it is especially the 5 Stars Movement that could be "laminated". "It is given 17% of the vote - which would be a halving compared to previous (legislative) results," said Jean-Pierre Darnis. "On the other side is a rather concrete danger: it is that of a nationalist extreme right-wing government - 38% in the League, 6-8% for the ultra-nationalist movement Frères d'Italie and the Berlusconi movement given at 6%. "
The union of the M5S with the Democratic Party, to form a new provisional government, would be a solution to avoid the holding of early elections. But each camp will have to put water in their wine. "Part of the M5S can not agree to form a government with the PD, and vice versa," says Marc Lazar. "At the same time, the fear of being called to the polls and taking a predictable defeat means that the two parties may overcome their past enmities, with the objective of confining Matteo Salvini to the role of opponent."