Italian Coalition Talks Stall Over Ego

It looked so easy on paper.  The two opposition parties in Italy surged to electoral success on the back of voter frustration with, well, everything.  But, a funny thing happened on the way to political revolt in Italy, egos became more important than reform.

That’s the only way I can describe the actions of League Leader Matteo Salvini in the initial round of talks with fellow populist traveler Five Star Movement (M5S).  Salvini refuses to break his coalition with Forza Italia and its leader Silvio Berlusconi.

And, of course, Berlusconi being the stalking horse for the European Union that he is, refuses to enter into a coalition with Five Star virtue signaling his painted hair off saying, “”We are not open to government solutions in which envy and social hate, poverty politics and judicial witch hunts are the cornerstone.”

That First Sip is a Doozy

It is fairly obvious that Salvini is a little drunk on the power of his newfound status of coalition leader. He’s trying to milk it for whatever he can get from it. And that’s the real danger.

Salvini believes a re-vote is in The League’s favor.  But, I wouldn’t be so sure of that.

In response to talks breaking down, M5S Leader Luigi Di Maio made coalition overtures to the Democrats who promptly rejected him.  And that’s expected.  The establishment parties are beholden to Brussels in the end.  It is their job to deliver a result that aligns with further EU integration.

And M5S is certainly not that.

Dragging out coalition talks is part of the strategy of proving that ‘the new guys’ are unfit to rule.

So, Di Maio is getting a little lesson early on here of just whose loyalties lie where and how serious the establishment is at protecting its position.

This is why Salvini is pressing his advantage here.  He knows he can’t enter a coalition with M5S and be the senior partner and that’s what he wants.  The only path to that is another vote.

But, Italian President Mastrella isn’t going to allow that yet.  And the longer this goes on without a resolution, the worse it will get for everyone.  The people of Italy are ticked off.  And Salvini may be fooling himself if he thinks The League can go from 17% to 35% in a year when it is precisely his own ego that is keeping a government from forming.

To do that The League would have to pull support from the Democrats and cannibalize his own coalition.  Meanwhile, the EU and the caretaker government do nothing to solve the problems pressing on the Italian people, raising their frustration further.

It’ll be easy for Berlusconi and the Democrats to point the finger at Salvini and away from themselves.

The more likely scenario is that the south, which pushed M5S over the 30% mark, will harden even further for them while M5S makes in-roads farther north and pushes its totals towards 40%.  At which point the it has far more potential dance partners.

Moreover, it can continue to offer up coalition talks with everyone and campaign on the points that it is trying to be the leader the people voted for.  It’s not their fault there is no government formed.

And that’s why Salvini has a very tight window to negotiate with M5S and he has to be smarter than he’s been going forward.

Protests are Not Endorsements

Because, the truth is that Italians voted for the outsiders in protest.  But, that also means that support can crumble quickly if the leadership doesn’t actually lead.  Voting in those with no experience is a leap of faith that electorates rarely take.

It speaks to the seriousness of the situation in Italy, how close it is to something far uglier than an inconvenient election result.

Salvini needs to read the tea leaves better, cut a deal with Di Maio and prove that both are capable of leading a government through a very difficult period.  Get the experience and you gain that alongside something far more important, the people’s trust.

The time for egos comes after you’ve done the work.

And then you can call for snap elections to further consolidate power.  Salvini should spend some time watching Shinzo Abe in Japan versus staring at his reflection in a mirror.

Political protests are not a positive statement.  They are negative ones.

Salvini must realize this as he has not earned the people’s patience yet.  That comes with accomplishing their desires, not playing power politics and remaining loyal to the very people they rejected.

We had a political revolt here in the U.S. with electing Trump.  The strategy of his opposition was to deny him any wins, no matter how trivial.  By doing that, they figured, they could wear down the people’s frustration with the status quo and prove to them once and for all that this awful state of being is the best they can hope for.

It’s all part of the psy-op.

And, despite Trump’s mis-steps and that insane level of opposition he’s confronted, he has acquitted himself well enough through his first year-plus in office.  His poll numbers are rising and his base has been forgiving, because they rightly see how unfairly he’s been treated.

He’s established himself as someone who can govern, albeit in his own distinct style.

Salvini and Di Maio are in that same position Trump was in.  If M5S and The League formed a coalition tomorrow it would harden their opposition. They can expect the same unfair treatment Trump has endured.

And guess what?  The people will rally around their champions.  If you are going to be a populist.  Be a populist.  Do the people’s work and check your ego at the door.

If a man a flawed and narcissistic as Donald Trump can do it, anyone can.

27 thoughts on “Italian Coalition Talks Stall Over Ego

  1. I believe the following linked analysis likely trumps the egos involved:

    “Is the Eurozone in a Dead End?”


    It’s remarkable that the Euro and the Eurozone currency grouping hasn’t fallen apart until now. Greece could have done it in 2010 but it was avoided by extraordinary acts of the Euro governments and European Central Bank. Now those actions are coming back to haunt especially Germany who stands poised to become the “sugar daddy” of the debt-bloated southern Euro states such as Italy or Spain. This is one major reason that the anti-Brussels parties that triumphed in recent Italian elections—5-Star and Lega, suddenly dropped talk about leaving the Euro. They are betting that Macron and Markel and their proposed new EU architecture will pull their debt chestnuts out of the fire at expense of German taxpayers. It’s a timebomb ticking ever louder.

    Target 2 Trap

    In 2011, in the wake of the manipulated Greek bond crisis that triggered a Eurozone contagion panic in markets, the European Central Bank initiated a highly controversial and poorly understood disguised bailout known as Target 2.Without getting into the complex details of how Target 2 central bank balances function, they in effect allow the central banks of the Eurozone crisis countries, led by Italy and Spain, to issue state bonds which are in effect taken by the strong central banks of the Euro, notably Germany’s Bundesbank. Since 2011 and the Greek crisis, Target 2 balances have been growing phenomenally to where today the total is estimated for the Bundesbank alone at € 914 billion. This is about one third of German GDP.

    In 2011 the highly-respected German economist and then-head of Munich’s IFO Institute, Hans-Werner Sinn, called the ECB use of Target 2 “The ECB’s stealth bail out.” He was the first to warn that the ECB Target 2 system for “Target balances constitute public credit relations in the same way as credit that is given via official rescue packages.”

    In 2011 the sums involved were still a fraction of the present total. Today the sheer size of these little-publicized Target 2 central bank balances in the Eurozone, especially the Bundesbank, put enormous pressure on the more prudent northern EU countries, especially Germany, to finally drop resistance to adoption of George Soros’ plan to have the Euro countries issue common Eurobonds. With such Eurobonds, the public debt of euro-zone countries would be pooled and converted into Eurozone “Eurobonds” with collective responsibility. De facto that would mean German or other north EU taxpayers would support the debt of stressed countries like Italy or Portugal or Greece. For strong reasons former Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble fiercely resisted any supranational issuing of bonds as a disguised forced German bailout of the countries such as Italy or Spain.

    On Sat, Apr 7, 2018 at 9:52 AM, Gold Goats ‘n Guns wrote:

    > Tom Luongo posted: “It looked so easy on paper. The two opposition > parties in Italy surged to electoral success on the back of voter > frustration with, well, everything. But, a funny thing happened on the way > to political revolt in Italy, egos became more important than ref” >

    • and that is the only way to salvage the EU. Gods help me but I agree with Soros on that. Now, what I don’t agree with is that this is what they SHOULD do.

      They should break the thing up into its component parts and be done with the whole idea.

      And even with consolidated debt offerings, the EU’s own internal inconsistencies will preclude it from surviving.

      Schauble resisted Eurobonds because he knew that the EU was a boon to Germany at everyone else’s expense.

      In fact that was it’s designed intent originally.

  2. Italian commentators are telling that Di Maio wanted to make a coalition with the PD, but without Renzi. Is seems that in this case ( no Renzi) there aren’t the “numbers”, the votes of PD are not sufficient -After meeting the president Di Maio made a speech in which he said that he is not against euro, he wants to stay in “Europe”, ecc. ecc. giving up most of the positions of M5S on these vital issues .

    • we’ll see if he holds to that or not. For now, leaving the euro isn’t to my understanding the preference of Italians (please correct me if I’m wrong) and that’s why th softening on that stance.

      I’ve written about this in the past. They are going to try and forced Germany to bail them out… but if the Germans hold firm Di Maio will have to then go back to the voters and say, “See? We tried. And we don’t want to be Greece.”

      At which point he and Salvini would have very common cause. This is what they should do. The question is, “will they?”

      • Experts told that the difficult point in leaving the euro is the Italian debt held by foreigners. According to the lex monatae if the holders of 25%(and more) of this debt oppose to be paid in the new currency they can force Italy to par them in euro. The foreigners hold 37% of Italian debt .
        The economists of the Lega are saying that leaving the euro requires a carefully studied strategy and preparation (that needs time) , not like the Greeks, who had no preparation whatsoever .
        Personally, as Italian, I do nor trust M5S , because they have a program, but, as Di Maio has ( again ) shown lately , they do not follow it.

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