In this new episode of the Visions of Europe Lecture Series, Roberto D’Alimonte explores the factors behind the rise of Italy’s brand of populism, the reasons for the failure of the first Conte government and the prospects for the second, as well as the relationship between Italy and the EU in the wake of these developments. It is commented upon by Sarah de Lange.
On 4 March 2018, a wind of change swept across Italy’s political landscape, and indeed that of Europe. That day’s parliamentary election made Italy the first country in Western Europe with a populist majority and eventually a populist government. The Five Star Movement and the League governed together for over a year. Giuseppe Conte, a law professor with no political experience and with loose ties to the Five Stars, became Prime Minister. This populist government lasted just over a year before being replaced recently by another Conte cabinet based on an alliance between the mainstream Democratic Party (PD) and the (formerly?) anti-system Five Stars. In the meantime, the PD suffered a split with the former PM Matteo Renzi creating a new party, Italy Alive. This lecture analyses both the context and actors of this rising Italian populism and their effect on Italy-EU relations.
About the speakers
Roberto D’Alimonte is Professor of Political Science at LUISS-Guido Carli University in Rome. He previously taught at the University of Florence, and has held fellowships and visiting professorships at Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, as well as Florence Center. His recent research interests focus on political and electoral change in Western democracies, particularly Italy. In 2005 he founded the Italian Center for Electoral Studies and served as its Director until March 2019. Well-known as a political journalist, Professor D’Alimonte covers political events for Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s major financial newspaper. He has collaborated with former Italian PM Matteo Renzi on electoral reform.
Sarah L. de Lange is Professor by special appointment at the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2016 she holds the Dr. J.M. Den Uyl chair, a chair established by the Wiardi Beckman Foundation. She is currently working on a project funded by the Open Research Area entitled Sub-National Context and Radical Right Support in Europe.
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