When Will Salvini Be Found Out?

Monday, August 12th, 2019

The Italian government is in crisis. Yes: again. Fresh from his role as beach-bum politico, the head of the Lega and most dominant member of the current ruling coalition by far, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, has entered a motion of no-confidence in the current government. The pretext is the diametrically opposing positions of the ruling parties (the Lega and the 5 Star Movement, Movimento 5 Stelle or M5S) on the project to build a high-speed rail line between Lyon and Torino. But the real reason is likely to be last May’s European Parliament election: compared to the Lega attracting around 17% of the votes and the M5S in the low-thirties in the last general election in March 2018, those percentages were flipped around in the polling for Italian MEPs.

Some have called the Lega/M5S coalition ultimately resulting from March 2018 “Frankenstein” in that the partners were ill-suited to each other in multiple respects, and now it seems Salvini has decided this is his chance to blow it up and seize greater power – the Prime Minister’s position! – for himself. Never mind the video compilation the La Repubblica newspaper compiled of all the times Salvini had promised publicly that this marriage … er sorry, that the coalition government would last the entire five-year period before a general election would be required again.

Now, Salvini’s timing is slightly off, for as he well knows this is peak vacation-week in the Italian calendar (Ferragosto! – something about the Virgin Mary), so nobody who can afford it is at their usual job. Surely Salvini himself remains at the shore, among his bikini-clad constituency, and more power to him for that (which I mean only figuratively). What’s more, those in charge of the two houses of the Italian Parliament have made it clear there will be no accelerated procedure or other special treatment afforded for his motion to intrude on those bodies’ set calendar of business (although M5S head Luigi Di Maio is calling together members of his party so they can decide how to respond).

May I suggest the following item for their agenda?

OK, it may seem to be just about “flight records.” Actually, BuzzFeed first issued its report (“The Explosive Secret Recording That Shows How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To The ‘European Trump'”!) a month ago; this new piece about “flight records” merely adds some detail, you could really rather interpret it as just a timely reminder, to sustain public interest in their allegations.

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