Chris Tomlinson – March 1, 2018
The Italian national election has the potential to send a wave through Europe not seen since the Brexit vote in 2016. The migration crisis, which has flooded Italy with hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants, along with EU rules preventing bank bailouts and soaring migrant crime and unemployment, has fueled the growth of populism and the collapse of the political establishment.
There are three main contenders in Sunday’s election. Two of them belong, at least in part, to anti-establishment populist movements while the other, the currently-ruling centre-left alliance is struggling in polls.
The centre-right coalition consists of the conservative Forza Italia led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the populist Lega party (formerly Lega Nord) led by Matteo Salvini, and two smaller parties embracing national conservatism and Christian democracy.