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Italian Snap Elections: Will the left-wing populists defect to the right-wing populists

According to reports, some party members of the Five Star Movement are thinking of ditching the left-wing populist party for Salvini’s National Populist League party.

After strong disagreements between Salvini’s League and their coalition partners in the Five Star Movement (M5S), it’s looking more and more likely that Italy will be seeing a new election in the near future. With Salvini’s party currently polling at around 38-40 percent, some of the M5S members could be looking leave the left-wing populist party – whose support has dropped dramatically – for Salvini’s national populist party, Il Giornale reports.

The Italian newspaper has said that several party members with ties to its leader Luigi Di Maio and Minister of Justice Alfonso Bonafede are supporting Salvini, calling this faction of the party more similar to Christian Democrats than the leftist ‘progressive’ wing M5S led by Robert Fico.

The rift in the Five Star Movement isn’t particularly new. Although many inside of the party have vigorously opposed Salvini’s National Populist policies like his security and migration decree, others like Peppe Grillo – the party’s founder – have often lauded the interior minister.

Last year, during one of his live performances at the Anfiteatro dell’Anima theatre, Grillo said that Salvini is a man who “does things for real”.

Grillo said this week that he would prefer the M5S to govern and form a new government after elections. However, because support for M5S has decreased by half since the 2018 elections, they would most likely need to form an alliance with the left-wing Democratic Party (PD).

If Salvini can garner 40 percent of the national vote, his League party may be able to govern Italy alone.

A National Populist alliance between the League and Georgia Meloni’s Brother’s of Italy party is also a possibility.