Rise of Populism
Economic malaise fuels a rise in Italian populism
The populist Five Star Movement is celebrating major gains in Italy's elections. After rejecting the traditional political establishment it is aligning itself with the success of newcomers such as Trump and Macron.
Party Leader Luigi Di Maio's apolitical past makes him a relatable figure for Italy's electorate, particularly its youth, 31.5% of whom are unemployed. "When they make fun of me for my jobs, they’re making fun of an entire generation that they’ve betrayed." Di Maio insists his party will break from a tradition of excess and corruption. "We’re the only political group that doesn’t accept taxpayer money for lifetime pensions, double salaries and flights. We’re funded by our membership." But already they face allegations of collusion with Russia and breaking campaign promises. When they blocked measures to resolve Rome's sanitation crisis, ex-supporter Massimiliano Tonelli turned against them. "Their voters have been conned. This is very dangerous and should sound the alarm for the entire continent."