Leader of Italy’s Five Star Movement holds rally as populist coalition is sworn in

Leader of Italy’s Five Star Movement holds rally as populist coalition is sworn in

Luigi Di Maio, leader of Italy’s populist Five Star Movement (M5S), has called for supporters to gather in Rome today

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Photo: Reuters/Remo Casilli

Luigi Di Maio, leader of Italy’s populist Five Star Movement (M5S), has called for supporters to gather in Rome today as his party has salvaged its efforts at making a coalition with the right-wing Northern League.

The first proposed coalition uniting M5S and the League collapsed when President Sergio Mattarella rejected the parties’ choice for finance minister, eurosceptic Paolo Savona, which the populists decried as Mattarella overstepping his bounds. The president argued that Savona’s anti-Euro views jeopardised the economic well-being of Italians.

After fresh elections seemed likely, the parties returned to the table and reshuffled the proposed cabinet, with Savona now the EU Affairs minister. Under obscure law professor Giuseppe Conte’s prime ministry, Di Maio and League Leader Matteo Salvini will be deputy PMs, with the former also having the labour portfolio and the latter leading the interior ministry.

Salvini has proven the winner of these negotiations: he pushed Savona into the cabinet, his party has gained in polls and he now directs Rome’s migration policy. He will likely quickly make moves to restrict migrants’ entry and ramp up deportations. However, his position must now survive other threats: managing the dysfunctional Italian state and holding together a shaky coalition.