Foreign policy implications of Italian election

  • Giada Negri
  • 7.3.2018 13:31

On 4 March, Italian elections rejected the possibility of a grand coalition between the Democratic Party (PD; 18.9%) and Forza Italia (FI; 13.9%) that would ensure foreign policy continuity. Nevertheless, without the support of these establishment parties, none of the political forces can reach the 40% of the Parliament’s seats needed to govern as a unity government between the far-right extremist League (17.7%) and the Five Star Movement (M5S; 32.2%) remains unlikely. The two most probable scenarios are an M5S government supported by elements of the left or a right-wing coalition.

It is unclear whether the alliance of the FI and the League will survive post-electoral negotiations. They share the need to improve relations with Russia and increase efforts to protect Europe’s external borders. However, they are divided on the approach toward the European Union. The League repeatedly expressed sympathy for the Hungarian anti-Brussels stand on migration, while Berlusconi proposed European President’s Antonio Tajani as Prime Minister of a possible right-wing government to appease the EU, a move that frustrated his ally. Should the M5S form a coalition with the leftist PD, the most likely scenario of all, then Italy's foreign and EU policy would not experience dramatic changes. Post-electoral coalitions will start emerging when the new parliament appoints presidents of the two chambers on 23 March. 

About author: Giada Negri

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