European Journal of Political Research: Political Data Yearbook. 2019, 58 (1), 149-161
The year 2018 shattered Italian politics. During the campaign for national elections in February 2018, the police arrested right-wing extremist Luca Traini after injuring six migrants in the city of Macerata in central Italy. A few weeks later, in March, the general elections marked the success of Luigi Di Maio’s M5s (Five Star Movement) and Matteo Salvini’s LN (League) and relegated the parties that dominated the previous phase – PD (Democratic Party) and FI (Go Italy) – and their leaders – Matteo Renzi and Silvio Berlusconi- to the margins of Italy’s party system. Since no political coalition or party won an outright majority at the elections, the elections resulted in a hung parliament. After three months of negotiations, the LN and M5S eventually managed to strike the deal that set up the first Conte government. While the issue of migration shaped public debates and policymaking, putting Italy’s bilateral relations with France under strain, the Italian government’s difficulty to pass the 2019 budget plan triggered tensions with the EU commissions and instability on the financial markets.