After having fought off popular rejection of its neoliberal economic policies that serve its own interests, the European establishment has lost its first major election, as Andrew Spannaus reports.
By Andrew Spannaus Special to Consortium News
in Milan, Italy
The Five Star Movement and the League, two so-called “populist” political parties in Italy, are preparing to form a government after Wednesday’s appointment of a new prime minister following an election result that could directly challenge the foundations of the European Union.
Like other anti-system movements around Europe, the Italian parties are calling in particular for abandoning the neoliberal economic policies and speculative finance, which are hollowing out the middle class.
The breakthrough comes two and a half months after the elections held on March 4, in which Italian voters sent an unequivocal message to the current political institutions, not simply of protest, but of a desire to actually give power to those willing to implement deep changes.
The two parties were not allies during the election, but they ultimately recognized that their anti-establishment positions, and in particular their opposition to the austerity-based policies of the E.U., made them obvious candidates to join together in an attempt to shake up Italy and Europe as a whole.
On the Heels of Trump and Brexit
After the shock of the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential elections in 2016, Europe’s political elite looked fearfully towards the series of elections to be held across the continent in 2017. Political outsiders had already increased their support in recent years, fueled by anger over deepening economic difficulties and the related backlash against increased immigration mainly from Africa and the Middle East.
With the precedent of Trump’s victory and Britain’s vote to leave the EU, it seemed possible that some of those movements could actually force their way into government, opening a gape in the fabric of “liberal democracy” across Europe.
By the end of the summer, the revolt had faltered. The anti-Islam…