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Italy’s Populist Parties, on Precipice of Power, Fail to Form Government

Mr. Salvini said that he had expected, as of Monday, to be Italy’s interior minister, responsible for security and migration, and had been thinking, “I can’t wait to send home a whole lot of illegals.” Instead, he said, the powers-that-be didn’t like his choice for economics minister so they pulled the plug.

But Mr. Salvini, a gifted politician, stands to gain the most from new elections. His support has increased throughout the long negotiating process. If Mr. Savona was a poison pill that Mr. Mattarella would never accept, his nomination essentially forced new elections that could send Mr. Salvini back to government as the prime minister of a broad center-right coalition with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

That would leave the Five Star Movement out of the picture. On Sunday night, the party’s political leader, Luigi Di Maio, seemed genuinely apoplectic. After an emergency meeting with his party leaders, he called on Italian television for Mr. Mattarella’s impeachment for blocking the will of the people.

It is not clear if Five Star, an ideologically vague party that won more than 30 percent of the electorate, has alienated left-leaning voters upset about its alliance with the hard-right League.

What is clear is that the outrage machine of Five Star, a protest party born online, kicked into high gear Sunday. In response, government officials expressed solidarity for Mr. Mattarella.

“Keep calm and solidarity with President Mattarella,” Paolo Gentiloni, who remains Italy’s prime minister, posted on Twitter. “Now we must save our great country.”

On Monday, Mr. Mattarella is expected to meet at the Quirinal Palace with Carlo Cottarelli, a former director of the fiscal affairs department of the International Monetary Fund, to ask him to form a technical government.

Source: NYT > World

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