On 8 August Salvini triggered a political crisis in the middle of the summer lull by calling for fresh elections but now he risks being sent back to the opposition benches. Has the Italian far-right lost the bird in hand while craving the two in the bush?
James Debono from MaltaToday analyses the situation.
He writes how Salvini’s move was a big gamble for him. For while governing in coalition with the M5S tied his hands, he was still able to call the shots especially on the issue most dear to his heart; immigration. Now he risks losing power without being able to get what he initially wanted; an autumn election which would have freed his hands from the inconvenience of having to compromise with allies who have more seats in parliament than him. Instead he may end up in opposition.
The end result is that Salvini’s political astuteness is now being questioned. The success of his mid summer announcement depended on paralyzing the M5S. Instead, faced with an existential threat the Movement has used what could be its ultimate advantage; its flexibility to build alliances across the board.
Salvini seems to have downplayed the possibility of an alternative government composed of the Democratic Party and the Cinque Stelle who together command an even larger majority than the current government.
By pushing for an election to exploit the weakness of his former allies, he may well have pushed M5S leader Luigi Di Maio into the embrace of the centre left, with the latter making the calculation that the choice is between kissing the proverbial frog or handing over the country to the most right wing government in post-war Italian history.”
Read more by James Debono on MaltaToday