BREAKING NEWS : One man exonerated, a second charged with murder Full Story

Who is Italy's possible next prime minister?

Italy's populist parties have put forward the name of Giuseppe Conte to become the prime minister of a new coalition government 80 days after the vote.

Posted: May 23, 2018 8:21 AM
Updated: May 23, 2018 8:23 AM

Italy is set to create its most anti-establishment government since the end of fascism in 1945.

The Five Star Movement's leader, Luigi Di Maio, and Matteo Salvini's Northern League met with Italy's President, Sergio Mattarella, and put forward Giuseppe Conte -- a law professor with no political experience -- as their proposed candidate for prime minister.

The formation of a new cabinet under Conte's leadership could take a while yet, but one thing is sure: Italy -- and the rest of Europe -- is a long way from stemming the anti-establishment surge that's been plaguing the continent in recent years.

Some pundits believe that the "modern barbarians" are literally at the gate of Rome.

What they probably mean is that a new coalition, composed of xenophobic populists, demagogues and the far right, could damage the European Union -- or worse, blow up Europe at large.

A leaked document suggested that the new government was considering Italy's potential exit from the eurozone, requesting that the European Central Bank cancel 250 billion euros in Italian public debt and softening sanctions on Russia.

The ramifications of Trump-like politics coming from Italy are now obvious to everyone.

EU officials and the French economic minister have expressed concern about this new government, which, ironically, only strengthens the populists' message that what Italy really needs is a government that stands up for national sovereignty in the face of declarations from supranational institutions.

For many pundits, this new government represents a radical break with the past.

But, for Italians, none of this is new.

Since the rise of Silvio Berlusconi in the 1990s, Italy has been considered a troublesome European state -- especially in political and economic terms. Yet, it is still one of the largest economies in the eurozone.

The electoral success of parties like Lega is great news for the anti-EU nationalists.

"I have worked with both of these parties in the European Parliament," declared an excited Nigel Farage, one of the leading EU doubters in the United Kingdom. "Let me tell you, it will be a much more Euroskeptic government."

Gerard Batten, the leader of Farage's old party, the UK Independence Party, echoed: "Let's hope Italy follows suit with Britain and decides to leave the EU."

Why is this coalition causing so much concern? First, despite Berlusconi being out of the game, some Five Star activists fear that he is still pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Second, Five Star, a populist movement, would take the leading role in the Government. More so than other anti-establishment movements in Europe, Five Star is an amalgamation of the left and the right.

Over the years, it has tilted to the right, taking on some of the anti-EU and anti-immigrant positions of the League and other far-right parties.

The main question is this: Once in government, will Five Star turn further to the right?

While this new Italy is unlikely to become as illiberal and authoritarian as other EU member states (think Hungary and Poland), it will probably start to look something like Austria: This will probably mean implementing tough anti-immigrant policies while maintaining a façade of democratic normality.

History shows that once in power, populists do not leave their authoritarian ideas behind them. Instead, once in office, they take everything up a gear, leading to further polarization. If this happens, Italy and Europe will start to look increasingly like Trump's America.

Whatever direction the new Italian government takes, it is evident that this new alliance will be another burden for the EU.

To date, no one has proposed a solution to the current of anti-EU nationalism among the populations of its member states. When European People's Party leader Manfred Weber warns Italians about the dangers of populism, he forgets that his Brussels-based group hosts Hungary's Viktor Orban and Polish nationalists.

In Italy, many people feel betrayed by an EU of political elites that treats citizens as variables and objects.

Southern Europeans feel alone when it comes to dealing with unemployment and the refugees crisis.

"The days of the European Union are limited: It will take five or 10 years, but they are limited," Farage claimed.

If the EU refuses to change, if it refuses to listen to the concerns of its citizens, Farage could be proved correct.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 152907

Reported Deaths: 4783
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27283615
Cuyahoga17603657
Hamilton13340321
Montgomery7993166
Lucas7377364
Butler6151112
Summit5393252
Warren313649
Mahoning3114282
Marion311447
Stark2946175
Pickaway268445
Lorain234286
Delaware232821
Fairfield214654
Licking196063
Columbiana195180
Wood194273
Trumbull1921132
Clark185341
Clermont176123
Lake166051
Greene153634
Medina149339
Miami147652
Allen147372
Portage117766
Mercer113919
Erie96047
Tuscarawas94320
Wayne94268
Richland94119
Ross90426
Madison85512
Darke81144
Athens7402
Geauga73349
Hancock73110
Belmont72427
Lawrence68622
Shelby66910
Ashtabula66248
Auglaize62511
Putnam62523
Sandusky58720
Huron5727
Union5512
Scioto5287
Seneca49514
Ottawa47230
Muskingum4553
Preble44716
Holmes3999
Jefferson3424
Henry33715
Defiance33212
Champaign3143
Logan3143
Clinton30512
Perry3039
Fulton2991
Brown2923
Knox28915
Jackson2667
Washington26323
Morrow2622
Hardin25713
Ashland2484
Crawford2486
Coshocton23511
Fayette2346
Highland2313
Williams2163
Wyandot21512
Pike2040
Gallia19713
Meigs17711
Guernsey1748
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1374
Van Wert1283
Paulding1130
Monroe11018
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton483
Noble350
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 42°
Angola
43° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntington
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 41°
Decatur
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 44°
Van Wert
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 44°
More Showers Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events