The race to the right of the Italian opposition

You can divide the Italian political opposition into two categories: Mr Berlusconi’s party and the others.

Mr Berlusconi stipulated with Prime Minister Renzi the so called “Nazareno Pact”, whose content is being kept partially secret, and his opposition to the Government is soft at best. Some commentators even speculate that the Nazareno Pact could actually be an instrument of surrender by which Mr Berlusconi renounced to any attempt at opposition in exchange for friendly policies towards his companies by the Government.

The hardline opposition is made of the Brothers of Italy, the Northern League, the Five Stars Movement and the Left, Ecology and Freedom party. Of these parties, only the Northern League and the Five Stars Movement have some numerical consistence, and they are visibly drifting towards the right end of the political spectrum.

The Northern League was born in the Nineties to represent the richest regions of Northern Italy. However, this didn’t allow it to get votes in the Center and the South; and without those votes, you will never win. Therefore the new secretary Matteo Salvini is turning the League in some sort of nationalist party attacking Brussels and immigration rather than Rome. Mr Salvini praised the French National Front, and has a good relationship with the traditional right of the Brothers of Italy. On Sunday, the Northern League staged a big protest against immigration in Milan, enlisting the help of the neo-fascist movement Casa Pound.

Mr Grillo’s Five Stars Movement claims to be “post-ideological”, neither rightist or leftist. However, in the European Parliament it is in the same grouping with the United Kingdom Independence Party and recently Mr Grillo used very harsh tones against immigration. Moreover, Mr Grillo is sometimes accused of neo-fascism for his aggressive tones, his populism and his habit of expelling from the Movement anyone who voices the slightest criticism against him.



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