Macron is a former investment banker who styles himself as a liberal champion of the European Union. Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League party, has emerged as Europe’s leading nationalist — one who has pledged to bring the European project to a crashing halt.
Both are building transnational coalitions to contest the 2019 European Parliament elections. Read more
Far-Right League Gains Most from Governing in Italy
Italy’s far-right League is benefiting the most from the government deal it struck with the populist Five Star Movement earlier this month.
In municipal elections on Sunday, the League captured the former left-wing strongholds of Massa, Pisa and Siena in the region of Tuscany.
Nationally, the League is tied with the Five Star Movement in the polls. Both get 27-29 percent support. In the last election, the Five Stars got 33 percent support against 17 percent for the League. Read more
Democrats Should Keep Superdelegates, Salvini Calls for Anti-EU Budget
BuzzFeed reports that Democrats in the United States are considering eliminating superdelegates from their presidential nominating contest.
That would be a mistake.
Superdelegates — governors, members of Congress and party officials — are a failsafe, to prevent a Democratic Donald Trump.
Opponents consider them undemocratic, but this fetishizes democracy. The point of the primary process is — or should be — to find the best candidate possible who can then go on to win in a democratic contest. Read more
Nobody Is Happy in Germany, League Calls for Italian Euro Exit
Nobody in Germany is happy with the deal Angela Merkel struck with the Social Democrats this week.
Politico reports that conservatives are upset she gave the Finance Ministry to the left. The party’s youth wing is openly calling for Merkel’s replacement.
The Financial Times reports that Martin Schulz is testing his Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) unity by joining the new government as foreign minister.
Tilman Pradt argued here the other day that Schulz has wasted away his credibility by reneging on his promise never to serve under Merkel. “Given the fate of its sister parties in Europe,” Pradt wrote, “the SPD should have been aware of the dangers of putting personal ambitions over party politics.” Read more
Italy’s Salvini Commits to Right-Wing Pact, Asks Same of Berlusconi
Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League, has ruled out reneging on a right-wing pact and asked Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of the mainstream conservatives, to do the same.
Both parties get around 15 percent support in recent surveys. In combination with smaller right-wing parties, they might just reach the 40 percent needed to form a government.
If they fall short, Salvini could theoretically team up with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is polling at 26-28 percent.
Salvini and the Five Stars share views on Europe and political reform, but they come at it from opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Salvini Would Pick Populists Over Center-Left for Coalition
Italy’s Northern League would rather go into coalition with the populist Five Star Movement than the mainstream center-left, its leader, Matteo Salvini, has said.
Speaking in Palermo on Monday, the conservative lamented that the Five Stars are “showing their incompetence where they govern.”
But, he added, “if I were to call someone, I wouldn’t call Renzi or Alfano” — referring to Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi and Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the leader of the small center-right Popular Alternative.
Renzi’s Democrats are polling neck and neck with the Five Star Movement. Salvini’s Northern League is vying with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia to become the largest party on the right. Support for the Popular Alternative is in the single digits. Read more