by Michelangelo Severgnini in Italy

Di Maio (leader of M5S, 32 years old) and Salvini (leader of the League, 45 years old) in a wall painting appeared on the walls of Rome a few weeks ago.

In the Italian elections of March 4, the sensitive subject was the Italians’ request for an anti-austerity government agenda. The 2 parties that presented a critical program towards this Europe (each one with different nuances) have increased their support and together have collected more than 50% of the votes.

These 2 parties, M5S and League, are a majority in the south and north of the country respectively.
I am a Lombard-Pugliese (half northern, half southern) and I think I understand the reasons for this success.
I’ve always been a fierce opponent of League on the ground for all the years I’ve lived in the north.

However, a train like this could not pass anymore.
We are seeing how the system (outcome minority in the elections) is already reacting sprawling, with the usual sarcasm, anathemas, threats. Europe is doing the same thing.

I did not vote for any of these 2 parties, in fact I did not vote. However, I hope a government as short as possible between these two political forces but long enough to lay the foundations for a new relationship with Europe (perhaps by triggering a continental process to which Greece and the opposition in Spain could join), to reduce the media dominance of Renzusconism (Renzi + Berlusconism), to introduce a little more common ethics, to give some relief to the Italians. In the meantime I hope for an evolution of the debate and an educational opportunity especially for the League’s electorate still convinced that rejecting immigrants is a reasonable policy.

I do not have many reasons for optimism. The thread is thin and the balance is risky. Of course, if there was a real left in Italy around 20% (see Podemos in Spain) the scenarios would have been different. These 2 forces now have a historical responsibility that the left should have taken and did not. Now we are under the sky. But the alternative on the table at the moment is far worse.

In short: roll up our sleeves instead of divining catastrophes and distributing labels.