Mike ScruggsNational OpinionOpinion

Italian populist-right parties rout establishment

Voters fed up with immigration and European Union: The long shadow of Donald Trump’s success

Stars stand for positions on public water, sustainable transportation, sustainable development, right to internet access, and environmentalism. It tends toward fiscal conservatism and cautious government spending. In foreign policy, it tends toward non-intervention by military force. It also emphasizes greater democratic participation.The Five Star Movement is variously considered populist, anti-establishment, euro-skeptic, globalist-skeptic, environmentalist, New Right, and right-wing on immigration policies. The Five

The Lega (League) Party was formerly the League of the North and once favored secession of Northern Italy from Italy. However, it has now become an Italian nationalist-populist party with strong sympathy for regional rights. Its motto is “Italians First.” It is considered right-wing on immigration issues. It now has a national following, but it is particularly dominant in Northern Italy.

The total League (125) and M5S (227) seats in the Chamber of Deputies is a sufficient majority of 352 out of 630, but the total including the two other conservative-right parties is a formidable 492. The total count of populist and conservative-right seats in the Senate is now 249 of 320.

The main issues that caused this rout of the Center-Left establishment were immigration, the heavy hand of European Union policies including immigration, economics, and currency, and lackluster Obama-like economic growth of only 1.5 percent annually. The shadows of Donald Trump’s concern about immigration and his increasingly visible economic successes are having an impact all over Europe that has encouraged the populist-right and thrown left-liberal European establishment parties into fearful panic.

Italy’s new Prime Minister is Giuseppe Conte, a law professor, with an agenda that could have been written by Donald Trump. Conte has not previously held political office. He has been rather an intellectual and philosophical driver of the populist and conservative themes of what has become a new anti-establishment Italian majority. He will have two deputy prime ministers: M5S leader Luigi Di Maio, who will also be minster for economic development and labor, and League leader Matteo Salvini, who will become minister of the interior. Both term themselves “eurosceptics” in regard to the European Union. Conte favors a flat rate income tax.

There was a brief doubt about the viability of the League-M5S coalition government, when Italian Democrat President Sergio Mattarella (elected 2015) vetoed Paolo Savona as finance minister. Mattarella objected to Savona’s frequent statement that the Euro was a “historic mistake.” Economics professor Giovanni Tria was then named to finance minister, and Savona will become Italy’s new Minister for European Affairs. There are 19 ministers in all.

The new Italian government has pledged an agenda of populist policies, including reclaiming national sovereignty from the European Union on border protection, immigration, economics, and finance. It has temporarily discarded immediate plans to have a referendum on whether to continue using the Euro as Italy’s currency. Some close followers of Italian politics believe that Italy will not only abandon the Euro but also exit the European Union before the British do. British Prime Minister Theresa May did not favor Brexit, and is doing what she can to delay or scuttle it. Many Italians feel that Italy’s economic situation has been held back by European Union policies, leaving them with extraordinarily costly nation-destroying immigration problems and a national debt that is 130 percent of GDP, the second highest among 19 EU nations. Only Greece has a higher debt ratio.

The Italians have also bristled at perceived insults by European Union leaders regarding Italy’s economic problems. Two days after an economic conference in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-claude Juncker issued a public statement:

“Italians should stop blaming the European Union for its economic problems and instead work harder and be less corrupt; Italians have to take care of the poor regions of Italy. That means more work, less corruption, seriousness”

This undoubtedly increased antagonism to the European Union in Italy.

The European Union is also engaging in the suppression of free speech all over Europe to support their unpopular policies enforcing massive immigration and multiculturalism. The most totalitarian have to do with enforcing “hate speech” laws, for example, prosecuting “Islamo-phobia.” This effectively criminalizes criticism of immigration policies, Islam, or even acknowledgment of massive sex-crime waves associated with recent Muslim immigrants in Sweden, Germany, and England. It is no wonder that polls in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and now Austria and Italy are beginning to show significant revulsion to European Union social policies.

The creation and success of the Lega/M5S coalition in Italy should bolster the hopes of conservative-populist patriots everywhere. It can also act as a pattern to wake voters up on issues ignored by political establishments, but which are vitally affecting their lives, their futures, and the future of their children and grandchildren.

Post election polls in Italy showed surprising M5S strength among voters under 30, but the coalition was weakest in university cities and among college students. Religious sentiments also played a role in the election with center-right parties strongest among those attending church regularly. According to a WIN/Gallup poll in 2015, 74 percent of Italians say religion is important to them, the second highest in Europe, second only to Poland with 87 percent. Traditional Christian religious values are obviously an important factor in voter resistance to multiculturalism and massive Muslim immigration.

Elections will be held in Germany and Sweden in September. It will be tougher for conservative-populists to win these elections, because in both countries the political and media establishments are in lockstep in suppressing the people’s free speech and rights. The UK political/media establishment has become one of the greatest threats to the free speech, liberty, and even the public safety of her people. UK elections are not until 2022, which may be too late to save the British from the multiculturalist disaster and despotic chains that their leaders have forged for their country.

Yet I pray with urgency for the safety and deliverance of the British, German, and Swedish peoples. The Italian elections have lighted a path to deliverance, freedom, and prosperity. May the God of our fathers, strong to save, give us the holy wisdom, courage, and determination to secure and preserve the gifts of Christian civilization and liberty for our children, grandchildren, and posterity.

“In my distress, I called upon the LORD, and he answered me.”—Psalm 120:1.

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