Monday, March 05, 2018

Five Star and Northern League Gain Half of the Vote in Italian Elections

In 2017 the French far right achieved an historically high share of the vote, with 34% of those voting for Le Pen. The far right AFD are now the main opposition in the German parliament. Yesterday in Italy the populist Five Star Movement and the far right Northern League gained around 50% of the vote between them.

(Image from the Financial Times)

When are Europe's leaders going to wake up to the devastation that their austerity policies have caused? The number of Italians at risk of poverty has risen by more than 3 million since 2008. Youth unemployment in southern Italy is 46.6%. While there has been some economic improvement the young people who have found employment are increasingly on temporary and insecure contracts.

It is no surprise that many of Italy's brightest young people have left due the absence of jobs and prospects.  It is also no surprise that economic insecurity combined with recent migration issues have led to the rise of populist political movements and a resurgence of the far right. These are worrying times for Europe.