In recent elections, populism has made huge gains; from the Trump victory to Brexit. Italy is now the latest country to experience the surge in this ideology. The European Union was certainly NOT expecting this result, because recent elections in Austria and France have appeared to show that populism has avoided the European continent. However, the Italians have SHOCKED the EU and they should be very worried.
So what happened? Well, Matteo Salvini won the most votes with his “Right wing coalition” scoring 37% of the vote. In a surprising second place, Luigi Di Maio’s Five Star Movement won 32% of the vote. Therefore, this meant that the Left Wing coalition came third, meaning that the right-wing populist parties achieved over 60% of the vote.
The reason these parties were so successful is because, as with all populist parties and politicians, they listened to voters’ concerns!! In Italy, the refugee crisis has angered many people, especially in the poorer south of the country. Due to the country’s geographical location, it is unsurprising that it was one of the most affected by the number of refugees entering Europe.
After Luigi di Maio’s victory, he said that the there shall be a “new Italian republic of the people”. Italy’s establishment of old politicians and liberal media have failed to prevent this significant rise.
However, the type of populism in Italy differs majorly to that of the rest of Europe. Some people may want to anticipate Italy’s exit from the EU, however this is extremely unlikely. One of the reasons is because Italy was one of the founders of the EU, a simple referendum would not work. Furthermore, the economic crisis led to many people doubting the “European project” and the Euro.
Nevertheless, populist parties across the European continent have had to back away from the idea of exiting the institution; this is because the majority of citizens would like to reform the EU rather than exiting.
Overall, this article may dissappoint many followers who are proud Brexiteers. Well the positive to take from this is that it will definitely shake up the EU and hopefully ensure that they start listening to ordinary people. BUT do not expect another country to leave the EU anytime soon!!