Italy. When the year started, Italy had been ruled a few months ago by a brand new government constellation that became the fruit of the 2018 general election. The five-star movement – a dissatisfaction party of unclear political color – and the anti-xenophobic right-wing party Lega had formed a government where the post of prime minister went to a party-politically independent lawyer named Giuseppe Conte.
As Minister of Economic Development, Five-Star Movement Party leader Luigi di Maio devoted himself primarily to realizing his plans for citizen salaries in the shadow of Lega’s strong leader Matteo Salvini. By virtue of his post as Minister of the Interior, Salvini devoted himself primarily to the refugee issue, where, among other things, he enforced a decree prohibiting voluntary organizations from touching Italian ports.
In the spirit of US President Donald Trump, Salvini led a kind of ongoing election campaign and rode on the wave of mistrust of established parties that had brought him and his government partners to power. Like Trump, Salvini relied heavily on social media and his popular square meetings usually ended with the audience queuing up for a selfie with the leader.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of ITA in general and in geography as Italy in particular.
Alongside the immigration issue, Salvini’s cane horse was the criticism of the EU and its institutions, where France’s President Emmanuel Macron was named the main enemy. In February, the discord between the two governments led to a diplomatic conflict. France called home its Rome ambassador, after Luigi di Maio had traveled to Paris to meet and support the leaders of the Yellow West protest movement.
In time for the European Parliament elections in May, Matteo Salvini launched a campaign whose main purpose was to gather EU-critical right-wing parties in different countries. Salvini’s main ally became France’s Marine le Pens National Collection. But at European level, the parliamentary elections did not give the dividend that Salvini had expected. The shifts in power at European level were not as great as the nationalist parties had predicted. Thus, they did not become strong enough in total to constitute a factor of power.
On the domestic level, however, the election became a success for Matteo Salvini’s party Lega, which received 34% of the vote. Many expected the party leader to trigger a fresh election to bring home the result at home. But the grounded leader made a mistake, not least with the timing of his intended maneuver.
In the middle of the Italians holiday month of August, when the streets are empty and the beaches are full and no one wants to hear about politics, Salvini filed a no-confidence vote against his own government in the hope that the crisis would lead to fresh elections as soon as possible. But the country’s president Sergio Mattarella commissioned incumbent Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti to try to form a new government.
Conti succeeded, and Italy gained a seemingly unlikely government coalition with the Five Star Movement and the Social Democratic Party, with previous long experience as a government party. A large part of the Five-Star Movement voters is believed to have left-wing sympathies, but the party was not yet a perfectly natural partner for the Democratic Party. There was a lot going on around Luigi di Maio, who, despite his little experience of the outside world, became Foreign Minister in the new government. At 33, he was the youngest foreign minister in the country’s history. The founder of the five-star movement, comedian Beppe Grillo, who is concerned about the government’s survival, intervened in the autumn with admonitions to his young adept.
In the fall, regional elections took place in Italy with great success for Matteo Salvini. His party Lega is far from calculated, and now in January 2020, the most important regional election of all, in Emilia-Romagna is waiting. It is a region that is not only large and rich, but which has also always been ruled by the left from “the red Bologna”. By the end of the year, Salvini was making every effort to win the election, and if he succeeds, the bark may crack the fragile government.
2018 Populists and right-wing radicals form government
The March parliamentary elections became a disaster for the center-left, giving a huge electoral victory to the populist and the radical right. The right-wing Coalizione di centro-destra, consisting of Berlusconis Forza Italia and the fascist Lega Norte, became the largest coalition of the parliament with 265 deputies and 137 senators respectively. An increase of 138 deputies and 20 senators. It was followed by the populist five-star movement, which got 227 deputies and 112 senators. An increase of no less than 114 deputies and 58 senators. The radical and populist right wing supported nearly 70% of the electorate. Renzi’s PDS lost 227 deputies and had to settle for 122. At the same time, it lost 65 senators and had to settle for 60. The monumental defeat resulted in Renzi resigning from the post immediately after the election.
The following months after the election went with government formation under the leadership of juror professor Giuseppe Conte. He was appointed by Parliament’s largest party, the five-star movement. As the process progressed, a constitutional crisis developed as President Mattarelli objected to Lega Norte’s Paolo Savona becoming finance minister. Savona was an opponent of the European Union, and Mattarelli therefore opposed him becoming finance minister. Mattarelli thus went beyond his constitutional mandate – but in return was hailed by politicians in Germany and France. In response to Matterelli’s veto, Giuseppe Conte resigned from the post of government. However, only a few days. In late May, the five-star movement formed government along with the right-wing coalition and Conte as prime minister. However, the inexperienced Conte was immediately overshadowed by the League’s fascist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. On June 10, he announced that he was closing Italy’s ports for refugee ships. For several years, Italy had received most of the refugee flow across the Mediterranean after the EU closed the route via Turkey. The immediate consequence was that the ship Aquarius with 600 refugees on board was refused entry. The ship was operated jointly by Médecins Sans Frontières and SOS Méditerranée. Malta also refused to accept the ship, but after a few days the Spanish Socialist government agreed to accept it. Europe’s only humanitarian country Italy was replaced with Spain. For some decades, over 34,000 people were drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to get to Europe. The EU and European populations closed their eyes to the slow genocide.
When Salvini closed Italy’s ports for refugees, he announced on June 18 that a statement should be made of the Roma who resided in the country and who were not legally to be expelled with immediate effect. The proposal was in violation of the Constitution, sparked protests and initial friction in relation to the five-star movement.
In July, a number of Catholic priests attacked Salvini, whom they characterized as racists. However, the sermons of the pope or priests on tolerance and charity penetrated the hearts of the Italians. On the contrary, there was a sharp increase in violent attacks on refugees and immigrants. Just in the first two months after Salvini’s appointment as Minister of the Interior, 12 shootings, 2 murders and 33 other violent assaults on refugees and Roma were recorded. As a consequence of the fascist development in Italy, the local parliament in Mallorca declared Salvini persona-non-grata.
In August, the Agrigento Prosecutor’s Office in Sicily traveled to Rome to question those responsible for the illegal detention of aboard the Ubaldo Diciotti refugee ship in Catania. The fascist Salvini was not mentioned by name, but the prosecution also targeted him, as he was the chief responsible for the criminal activity. Italy is guilty of a violation of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that after 48 hours of detention, refugees must be released and have the opportunity to apply for refugee status. Italy then threatened to suspend its payments to the EU unless the Union agreed to the redistribution of the 150 refugees on the refugee ship. The EU and Italy were thus brought to a concentration course. Italy contributes € 2.3 billion annually € to the EU budget.
In September, Cécile Kyenge was sued by Interior Minister Salvini after she referred to his party as racist. Kyenge is a Member of Parliament and in 2013 became the country’s first black minister when she was appointed Minister of Integration. She was subjected to racial persecution by the radical right wing, had bananas thrown after her and referred to as orangutan. Salvini had previously tried to bring Kyenge to trial. He did not succeed until he became Minister of the Interior. The right-wing Salvini in 2009 called for racial segregation in Milan’s public transport system.
In September, the regime arrested Riace Mayor of Southern Calabria, Domenico Lucano, and placed him under house arrest. He was accused of “encouraging illegal immigration”. Just a week before, Interior Minister Salvini had introduced new draconian legislation targeting refugees and immigrants, and he had halted a scheduled broadcast on RAI on Riace. The village of Riace was under depopulation when Lucano became mayor. In 2004, it had just 500 residents, where it had 3000 after World War II. Today it has 1500, of which 500 are immigrants. The city’s hospitality has for many years been a thorn in the eyes of the country’s facists. Immediately after his re-election to mayor in 2009, they digested to shoot him. Today, Lucano and his partner Tesfahun Lemlem speak to the fascists – with Salvini at the forefront – amidst but tolerance, hospitality, diversity anddemocracy is in a tight spot in today’s Italy.
Italy’s journalists went on barricades in November, after leaders of the ruling 5 Star Movement (M5S) had labeled the country’s journalists as jackals and whores. The movement’s attack on journalists must be considered as part of the attacks on freedom of speech that took place throughout the Western world these years. In the United States, President Trump had popularized the concept of Fake News, there were those truths that were not in the interests of the rulers. The term is now used in most of the Western World – including Denmark – to restrict freedom of expression. The attacks on the Italian press took place after a court had declared Rome’s highly unpopular Mayor Virginia Raggi convicted of abuse of power. The Italian press had covered the lawsuit and the M5S now saw an opportunity to strike again. The shooting was particularly aimed at the newspaper Repubblica. M5S has no media of its own, but instead uses social media to spread their worldview.
In early December, Salvini adopted a decree in the Italian parliament that deprives refugees who have not yet received refugee status of state aid. The decree was first implemented in the city of Crotone in Calabria. Dozens of migrants, victims of sex trafficking and a child with mental health problems from one day to the next were put on the streets. Instead, they got help from the Red Cross. Larger cities such as Bologna, Turin and Rome refused to implement the decree, arguing that it would increase the number of homeless people and urban insecurity. The statistics office estimated that around 130,000 refugees by 2020 will be made illegal as a result of the decree. Salvini described the decree as a gift to the Italians.
From the end of December 2018, an increasingly deep crisis between France and Italy developed. After the right-wing radical government was formed in June, French President Macron found that “the leprosy of populism” saved Europe as a mare, with no hidden reference to Italy. In December, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini struck again when he met and supported the French “Yellow West” fighting the French government. In January, the leader of the populist Five Star Movement, Luigi di Maio, criticized France for supporting neo-colonialism in Africa, which is helping to make the continent poor and send refugee flows to the EU. He also called on the EU to impose sanctions on France for this policy – in parallel with the EU’s sanctions on Italy for its violation of the EU’s economic guidelines. French President Macron refused to comment on the charges, pointing out that his counterpart was Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Both in Rome and Paris, however, the ambassadors of the two countries were called in consultation, and France ended up dragging its ambassador home. This was the worst diplomatic crisis between the two countries since World War II, and the crisis had a clear purpose. Italy aimed to stir up a nationalist mood and build a European fascist international up to the EU parliamentary elections in May. (This was the worst diplomatic crisis between the two countries since World War II, and the crisis had a clear purpose. Italy aimed to stir up a nationalist mood and build a European fascist international up to the EU parliamentary elections in May.
In January 2019, Interior Minister Salvini began efforts to build a fascist international when he visited Poland to meet with the ruling right-wing “Law & Order” party. In early April, he assembled 20 right-wing European parties in Milan and in mid-May he announced the formation of the international at a meeting in Milan with 9 parties. Also the Danish People’s Party took part. Anders Vistisen spoke and he was in good company with the Nazi AfD from Germany, Le Pen from France and Salvinis Lega Nord. However, Salvini’s plans had a serious problem as the parties were severely divided in the view of Russia. Right-wing parties in Poland, the Baltics and Denmark are strongly critical of Russia, while Salvini and Le Pen have close ties to Putin. Although the European elections became a big victory for populists and right-wing radicals who rose from 5 to 10% of the vote, it was a relative defeat for Salvini. His “Identity and Democracy” coalition may have succeeded in getting 73 members elected to the European Parliament, but that was less than 10% of its members and his group was only the 5th largest, where he had gone after making it to the 3rd. largest after Conservatives and Social Democrats.
In the wake of the creation of the European Fascist International, Salvini went to Washington to strengthen cooperation with the Trump regime. Already during Trump’s 2016 election campaign, there had been close links between the two. Now the agenda was to become Washington’s closest ally in Europe. A role that Eastern European members of the EU have for decades sought to assume. Despite significant differences between the politics of the two right-wing countries – the United States, for example. strongly against Italy’s cooperation with China – there was also much sense in closer cooperation. Trump wants to weaken the EU and Europe in general, which he sees as an economic competitor to the United States, and Salvini needs other good friends after settling with the leading EU states: primarily France and Germany. During Salvini’s visit, it was announced that the EU is working to give Italy a $ 3.1 billion fine. £ for violating EMU rules on the size of a Member State’s state deficit. (Matteo Salvini: Italy wants to be Washington’s closest partner in Europe, Guardian 17/6 2019)
The right-wing regime in Rome led to ever more frequent clashes in the country. By the end of March, the strongly Christian right-wing World Congress of Families (WCF) had convened its meeting with Verona. It triggered counter-demonstrations with more than 20,000 participants from all over Italy. WCF is affiliated with the Christian Right in the United States and has on its agenda the fight against abortion, homosexuality and feminism. The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Salvini who declared that he would work for a change in Italy’s abortion law. In early April, new fascists attacked a reception center in a suburb of Rome, burnt down cars and waste containers. The center was supposed to house 70 Roma. The regime in Rome has stepped up its war on Roma. Already in June 2018, Interior Minister Salvini declared a census in Rome, and that all Roma should be thrown out of the country. The following month, police were deployed and cleared a Roma camp with 400 residents, despite an EU court banning the ban. (Christian right summit in Verona draws massive protest, Guardian March 30, 2019; Neo-fascist violence keeps Roma out of Rome neighborhood, Guardian 3/4 2019)
In July, 24 Latin Americans were sentenced to life in prison for their participation in Operation Condor in the 1970’s. Operation Condor was a collaboration between the intelligence services of the military dictatorships Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia on torture and murder of leftists. The cooperation made it impossible for opposites to flee to another country because the intelligence service was also waiting for them there. According to investigations, at least 496 people were abducted and killed during Operation Condor. Some were cut up and then thrown into the sea from planes. Others were poured into barrels filled with cement and thrown into a river. Among those convicted were Francisco Morales Bermúdez, president of Peru in 1975-80; Juan Carlos Blanco, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay; Pedro Espinoza Bravo who was intelligence chief in Chile and Jorge Néstor Fernández Troccoli who was intelligence officer in Uruguay’s navy. It has been known for decades that the CIA worked closely with Latin American executioners. During the trial it was revealed that European countries also participated. In September 1977, intelligence officers from West Germany, France and the United Kingdom visited Operation Condor Secretariat in Buenos Aires to learn from Latin American experiences, with a view to establishing similar cooperation between services in Europe. The trial was the first of its kind in Europe. It started in 2015 and concerned the disappearance and murder of 43 people, including 23 Italians. In Argentina alone, 977 officers and their accomplices are imprisoned for their crimes during the dictatorship (1975-82).
In July, a judicial inquiry into Salvinis and Lega Nord’s relations with Russia began. The media had revealed that representatives from the league had met in Moscow in October 2018 to agree on detail in an oil deal to deliver $ 3 million. tonnes of diesel to an Italian company at a favorable price, and the profits were then channeled to Lega Nord for use by the party’s election campaign up to the European Parliament elections in May. Salvini dismissed the charges as fake news. The opposition demanded an explanation in parliament.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Italy in 2019 was 60,549,964, ranking number 23 in the world. The population growth rate was -0.130% yearly, and the population density was 205.8546 people per km2.