[Editor’s Note: I-CONnect is excited to feature a special symposium on the Italian general election of March 4, 2018. The symposium will feature four parts, including this Introduction. We are grateful to Professor Antonia Baraggia for convening this symposium. We hope it will illuminate some of the quite fascinating and important political and constitutional questions arising out of the election.]
—Antonia Baraggia, Assistant Professor of Comparative Law, University of Milan, Italy.
Following the March 4th 2018 general election, Italy experienced the rise and the victory of an anti-establishment party and of a strongly right-wing party: respectively, the Five Star Movement emerged as the first political actor (32% of the votes) and the North League emerged as the first party (17% of the votes) of a coalition of center-right forces supported by 37% of the electorate.
Both parties, which after three months of negotiations finally entered into a very peculiar coalition government, seem to be strongly euro-sceptic, and many observers have pointed out that this strange Italian government coalition could strengthen the general trend of the rise of populism experienced by other democracies around Europe.
At first sight, this analysis is partly true: without doubt the multiple crises faced by Europe (the refugee crisis and the economic crisis) and the apparent powerlessness of public institutions at both the national and European levels to successfully tackle the crisis, have unveiled the limits and the contradictions of the social-democratic state, fostering popular discontent and the perception of insecurity.