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The Italian election of 2018 and the first populist government of Western Europe

Diego Garzia, (2018), «The Italian election of 2018 and the first populist government of Western Europe»West European Politics, Published online, https://doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2018.1535381, 6 Δεκεμβρίου

The 2013 election had heralded an unprecedented tripolar era for Italian politics, with the two traditional forces of the Second Italian Republic (Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right and variously assorted centre-left alliances) eventually matched, in terms of size, by the Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) – to date, the most successful rookie of Italian politics with 25% of valid votes at its first national election (Garzia 2013). Such an impressive result, although insufficient to grant it the majority bonus in the Lower Chamber, had nonetheless been enough to complicate, to a large extent, the formation of a parliamentary majority. Indeed, the problematic nature of the electoral outcome resulted in a correspondingly long process of government formation, which took over two months. On 28 April 2013, the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, appointed Enrico Letta as the head of a unity government featuring personnel from both Partito Democratico (PD) and Popolo delle Liberta (PdL). This parliamentary majority, however, only lasted until November 2013, when Silvio Berlusconi led the PdL’s withdrawal from the government and the simultaneous reversion of the name of his party to its original denomination Forza Italia (FI). This event led in turn to the formation of a smaller fringe party – Nuovo Centro Destra (NCD) – which, under the leadership of Angelino Alfano, decided not to withdraw from government.

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