Italian government crisis

Will there be early parliamentary elections?

The beginnings of the Italian government that has been formed in May 2018 were already not characterised by complete harmony. Numerous differences of both coalition partners, the Lega Nord party and the Five Star Movement (M5S) about the autonomy of certain regions or the demand of a minimum wage have split the government. Due to the project for a high-speed train link between Lyon and Turin (TAV) the discords reached their zenith.

After the Five Star Movement has voted against the rail project and therefore decided to stand against the will of its coalition partner, Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Minister of Interior and at the same time head of the Lega Nord party, has called for an immediate end to the coalition. Furthermore, Salvini’s far-right party has filed a no-confidence motion against the non-party Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in order to force snap elections. The Prime Minister decided not to resign and to face the vote of no confidence in order to delay early elections. Moreover, the Senate voted against a no-confidence vote this week. Instead, the vote will be held on 20 August.

In the case of new elections, the already weakened Italian economy would even more deteriorate. Only recently, Italy has escaped EU deficit proceedings, which would have included a fine running into billions. Furthermore, the GDP of the heavily indebted country showed a standstill in the second quarter of the year. According to experts another major risk caused by a Lega Nord led government could be growing tensions between Italy and the EU, particularly on the topic of household budget.

Against all possible scenarios, it remains to be seen how the no-confidence vote turns out and what steps will be taken by Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s President, who still maintains a low profile.