Italy is drifting back to its old fragmented politics

IN CONTRAST to France, where the political system has been upended by the overwhelming victories of Emmanuel Macron and his new party, voters in Italy on June 11th opted mostly for the devils they know.

In the first round of local elections in more than 1,000 municipalities, candidates representing decades-old parties of the right (Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the more radical, populist Northern League) did particularly well. The biggest loser was Beppe Grillo’s upstart Five Star Movement (M5S). The anti-establishment, Eurosceptic M5S failed to reach the run-offs in any of the 25 provincial capitals that were up for grabs, including Mr Grillo’s native Genoa.

So are Italians, like other Europeans, tiring of Eurosceptic populism? Perhaps. But the Northern League is at least as Eurosceptic and populist as the M5S, and it would be foolhardy to write Mr Grillo’s party off. Besides, local issues and individual personalities had a big influence on the...Continue reading

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