October 29, 2019
This is good news.
Italy’s right-wing opposition alliance was on Monday celebrating a local election victory in Umbria, a region known as a left-wing “stronghold” for the past 70 years.
Support for the Five Star Movement (M5S) nosedived in the local poll, as did the vote for the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which has been rocked by a health scandal in the region.
Right-wing League party leader Matteo Salvini had vowed to wrest Umbria, a hilly region neighbouring Tuscany, from the left in the first of several key region elections he hopes will bring his party back to power.
Salvini said the results of Sunday’s vote were “extraordinary”, expressing his “joy and emotion” after the right’s candidate Donatella Tesei won with more than 57 percent, compared to 37 percent for the coalition government’s candidate.
It was Salvini’s anti-immigrant League party that had swept the board, bringing home 37 percent of the vote in a region which has voted left for 70 years.
The former interior minister’s campaign trail allies – the smaller, far-right Brothers of Italy, and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia – respectively won 10 percent and 5.8 percent.
The PD won 22 percent, but the M5S took home just 7.4 percent – a poor result which shook the party to its core.
Salvini said the “days are numbered” for Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the PD and M5S leaders, who are accused by the right of having “betrayed” Italians by forming an alliance to prevent Salvini forcing snap elections.
Remember – the 5 Star Movement won 32% in the general elections last year, and now they couldn’t even hit the double digits.
There’s a very good chance this party won’t exist in the near future at all, and that’s a good thing.
“The centre-right has the right and duty to govern the country,” Berlusconi said after the Umbria win, while Brothers of Italy head Giorgia Meloni said “if I was Conte, I’d hand in my resignation faster than light”.
Political analysts had said a poor result for the M5S could spark an internal rebellion within the Movement by those who were against the tie-up with the hated PD on a national level, or those who want their leader Luigi Di Maio gone.
“The implosion or endurance of the M5S worries the PD a lot,” political commentator Ilario Lombardo said in the Stampa daily, warning the fallout from the vote for the Movement would be “deeply wounding”.
You should’ve stuck with Salvini, like most of your own supporters wanted you to.
Umbria is the latest historically left-leaning region to swing to the right, after mayoral election votes saw the right-wing coalition surge in areas including Ferrara and Forli earlier this year.
It’s really only a matter of time before these people come back to power, this time with Salvini probably as prime minister, which will be good for Italy and for all of us.
They’re not perfect, but they’re the best we have.