Italy’s March elections were followed by months of negotiations, which ended with the president’s move to block the will of people and pick an ex-IMF director as the new interim PM. Let’s recap how it happened.
Improbable as it first seemed, a League-Five Star Movement coalition was formed nearly three months after the country voted. The elections of March 4 resulted in two winners – the center-right coalition led by the League that, collectively with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, won 37 percent; and the Five Star Movement, which won nearly 33 percent.
The unlikely allies had contrasting missions during their electoral campaigns. While the League vowed to staunchly fight to ease taxation and introduce new measures to deal with illegal migrants, the Movement gave an impression of leaning more to the left. Widely supported in the south of the country, Naples-native Di Maio was expected to deal with some of the most painful issues, such as unemployment and sloppy local government. With their missions framed differently, the two parties did not immediately begin talks.
To up the ante in the elections, three-time former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi teamed up with the League’s Salvini and the Brothers of Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, expecting to form a government based on their collective results.
However, this proposed alliance with Berlusconi, whose party got only 14 percent, was complicated for Salvini in the wake of the results. The leader of the League was reluctant to breach his accord with the former PM, which is why he initially ruled out any possibility of forming an alliance with Di Maio’s Movement.
On March 14, Salvini even expressed readiness to team up with any party so long as it was not the Democratic Party (PD). That, realistically, left out the Movement as his only prospect.