There's a Five Star waiting in the sky

Luigi Di Maio is the real winner of Italian elections, but he is struggling to form an alliance

di Alberto Magnani

Don't call them populists anymore. The Five stars movement, a political party founded by the former comedian Beppe Grillo, was the real winner of Italian elections. Some 30 percent of Italians voted for a euro-skeptical, left-right party that boosted its popularity by promising a citizenship income (reddito di cittadinanza) to all the unemployed people. Their frontrunner, the 32-years old Luigi Di Maio, is now trying to form an alliance for coming to power. Unfortunately, it is not clear who Mr. Di Maio should speak with. On the one hand, the center-left Democratic Party does not seem available for any further talks. Its resigning leader, Matteo Renzi, categorically ruled out any alliance with Five stars movement and the large majority of DP voters agree with him. On the other one, talks seem easier with League, a far-right party that climbed to more than 17% of votes in the latest elections. Should this be the option, Mr. Di Maio would face fierce criticisms by his own electors, as Five Stars and League come from radically different backgrounds. Five stars are especially popular in Southern Italy, where its promises for a “citizenship income” match with a sky-high unemployment rate. League boomed in Northern Italy thanks to its strong tax-cutting purposes and a ferocious anti-immigration stand. “We are open to anyone is willing to talk” Mr. Di Maio repeatedly stated in the aftermath of his historical success. It is just a matter of finding out who is ready to listen to him.
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