Italy

Articles about voting issues in the Italian Republic.

Italy: The Five Star digital voting platform that could threaten a government deal in Italy | Franck Iovene/AFP

If Italy’s political parties can agree on a government deal, it would still need to clear a final hurdle: the online voting platform of the Five Star Movement (M5S), which has long championed so-called ‘digital democracy’.
The platform, named after the 18th-century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is supposed not only to empower ordinary citizens but guarantee transparency — but it has been slammed as secretive and vulnerable to cyber attacks. Launched in 2016, it currently has some 100,000 members, M5S chief Luigi Di Maio said in July. But critics have lamented a lack of official documentation or certification from a third party to attest that this figure is correct. The M5S’s blog says the number of people registered on “Rousseau” rose from 135,000 in October 2016 to nearly 150,000 in August 2017, before dropping to 100,000 a year later. But political analysts say it cannot be seen as representative of M5S supporters, as the membership numbers are a drop in the ocean compared to the 10.7 million Italians who voted for M5S in the 2018 general election.

Full Article: The Five Star digital voting platform that could threaten a government deal in Italy - The Local.

Italy: A Secret Recording Reveals How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To Matteo Salvini’s Lega Party | Alberto Nardelli/BuzzFeed

Six men sat down for a business meeting on the morning of October 18 last year, amid the hubbub and marble-columned opulence of Moscow’s iconic Metropol Hotel, to discuss plans for a “great alliance.” A century earlier, the grand institution was the scene of events that helped change the face of Europe and the world: Czarist forces fought from inside the hotel as they tried and failed to hold the Bolsheviks back from the Kremlin in 1917, and it was here, in suite 217, that the first Soviet Constitution was drafted after the revolution succeeded. The six men — three Russians, three Italians — gathered beneath the spectacular painted glass ceiling in the hotel lobby last October had their eyes on history too. Their nominal purpose was an oil deal; their real goal was to undermine liberal democracies and shape a new, nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow. BuzzFeed News has obtained an explosive audio recording of the Metropol meeting in which a close aide of Europe’s most powerful far-right leader — Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini — and the other five men can be heard negotiating the terms of a deal to covertly channel tens of millions of dollars of Russian oil money to Salvini’s Lega party.

Full Article: A Secret Recording Reveals How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To Matteo Salvini's Lega Party.

Italy: Salvini Is Said to Face Pressure to Force Early Vote | Bloomberg

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is facing pressure to force an early election this year from lieutenants frustrated by dealing with an unruly coalition partner. Several senior members of Salvini’s League are urging their chief to capitalize on a growing lead in opinion polls to ditch the anti-establishment Five Star Movement which is hampering their efforts to deliver on election promises, according to a League government member and a senior party official who asked not to be named discussing confidential deliberations. Cabinet Undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti, a party strategist who is close to Salvini, has repeatedly voiced his frustration, the party official said.

Full Article: Italy's Salvini Is Said to Face Pressure to Force Early Vote - Bloomberg.

Italy: New elections loom in Italy amid calls for Mattarella to be impeached | The Guardian

A standoff over Italy’s future in the eurozone has forced the resignation of the populist prime minister-in-waiting, Giuseppe Conte, after the country’s president refused to accept Conte’s controversial choice for finance minister. Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president who was installed by a previous pro-EU government, refused to accept the nomination for finance minister of Paolo Savona, an 81-year-old former industry minister who has called Italy’s entry into the euro a “historic mistake”.  “I have given up my mandate to form the government of change,” Conte told reporters after leaving failed talks with Mattarella. Italy has been without a government since elections on 4 March ended in a hung parliament.

Full Article: New elections loom in Italy amid calls for Mattarella to be impeached | World news | The Guardian.

Italy: President likely to ask mediator to tackle post-vote stalemate | Reuters

Italy’s president is likely on Wednesday to appoint a mediator to try to break a deadlock that has prevented the formation of a government since inconclusive elections six weeks ago, a source said, although no quick breakthrough is expected. President Sergio Mattarella will probably ask Maria Casellati, the speaker of the Senate, to hold more flexible, less formal talks than those he has already led, a source close to the president told Reuters. The European Union’s third-largest economy has been under a caretaker government since the March 4 polls, when anti-establishment and far-right parties were the big winners at the expense of more mainstream groups.

Full Article: Italy president likely to ask mediator to tackle post-vote stalemate.

Italy: Five Star Movement rejects Berlusconi on eve of formal talks | The Guardian

The leader of Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement has ruled out joining a coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, a day before formal government consultations begin. Until now, Five Star had said it was ready to talk to all parties after the 4 March national election ended in a hung parliament. In an interview recorded by the La7 TV channel and not yet broadcast, Luigi Di Maio said Five Star was open to talks with the centre-left Democratic party (PD) – though not to its former secretary Matteo Renzi – and the far-right League, but not with Forza Italia, two Five Star sources said.

Full Article: Italy's Five Star Movement rejects Berlusconi on eve of formal talks | World news | The Guardian.

Italy: We still don’t know who will lead Italy. But one clear winner is the Kremlin. | The Washington Post

Italy’s Parliament convened Friday for the first time since anti-establishment forces shattered the old-line political system, and it remains unclear who will lead the country. But one victor is certain: the Kremlin. The populist Five Star Movement and the far-right League — the two parties most likely to bring together a ruling coalition — have called for a swift end to European sanctions against Russia. Both want to reorient the NATO defense alliance away from its increasingly robust stance in Eastern Europe, where it has stationed troops and tanks to defend against a possible conflict with the Kremlin. And both say Russia is a valuable partner in the global fight against terrorism in Syria and elsewhere.

Full Article: We still don’t know who will lead Italy. But one clear winner is the Kremlin. - The Washington Post.

Italy: Putin is the real winner of the Italian elections | The Hill

Within Italy, the big winners in the March 4 elections were the two populist parties, who between them pulled in roughly 50 percent of the vote. The 5 Star Movement, which emphasizes the “drain the swamp” part of the populist message, was the leading party, with 32 percent of the vote for both chambers of the Italian parliament. The League, more akin to the anti-immigrant policies Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, pulled about 17 percent, easily topping the center-right Let’s Go Italy (Forza Italia) of Silvio Berlusconi, disappointed in his hopes of returning to the forefront of Italian politics. Outside Italy, though, the undisputed winner was Vladimir Putin. Steve Bannon, who was in Italy for the election, may spin Italian events, not without reason, as confirmation of a populist wave that hit the U.S. as well in 2016. But the strong and public Russian connections of Italy’s populist parties could have very concrete impacts on Italian policy going forward.

Full Article: Putin is the real winner of the Italian elections | TheHill.

Italy: The Italian Implosion: Five Star’s Victory Signals a New Order | The Atlantic

In Italy’s national elections on Sunday, Marco Minniti, Italy’s interior minister, a long-time spy chief and a member of the center-left Democratic Party, was soundly defeated in his parliamentary race by a candidate without a party. The winner was a man who had been kicked out of the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement because he admitted he’d broken a party rule and not tithed part of his salary back to the movement. The majority of the other ministers in the current government, a grand coalition of center-left and center-right led by the Democratic Party, also lost in direct contests, although they’ll enter parliament through a proportional system.

Full Article: Five Star's Victory in Italy Signals a New Order - The Atlantic.

Italy: Election results suggest Europe is becoming too fragmented to govern | The Washington Post

After voters from the snowy peaks of the Alps to the sunny shores of Sicily delivered a verdict so fractured and mysterious it could take months to sort out, the banner headline Monday in the venerable daily La Stampa captured the state of a nation that’s left no one in charge: “Ungovernable Italy.” The same can increasingly be said for vast stretches of Europe. Across the continent, a once-durable dichotomy is dissolving. Fueled by anger over immigration, a backlash against the European Union and resentment of an out-of-touch elite, anti-establishment parties are taking votes left, right and center from the traditional power players.

Full Article: Italian election results suggest Europe is becoming too fragmented to govern - The Washington Post.

Italy: Election Gives Big Lift to Far Right and Populists | The New York Times

Italians registered their dismay with the European political establishment on Sunday, handing a majority of votes in a national election to hard-right and populist forces that ran a campaign fueled by anti-immigrant anger. The election, the first in five years, was widely seen as a bellwether of the strength of populists on the continent and how far they might advance into the mainstream. The answer was far, very far. After Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France beat back populist and far-right insurgencies in the past year, Europe had seemed to be enjoying a reprieve from the forces threatening its unity and values. That turned out to be short lived.

Full Article: Italy Election Gives Big Lift to Far Right and Populists - The New York Times.

Italy: Italy Is Having an Election. Most Italians Are Too Depressed to Care. | The New York Times

Like millions of young Italians, Elio Vagali confronts career options that range from minimal to nonexistent. At 29, he has cleaned homes, picked tangerines and lifted rocks — nearly always off the books, without the protections of a full-time contract. In a measure of his desperation, his dream employer is the dilapidated steel mill that dominates life in this fading city on the Ionian Sea. The complex has been blamed for a cancer cluster in the surrounding community. Yet to Mr. Vagali, it beckons like a portal to another life, one that means moving out of his parents’ apartment. Except the plant isn’t hiring. “You either know somebody, or you don’t get in,” he said bitterly. “There’s nothing here for me.” All of which helps explain why Mr. Vagali and much of the Italian electorate is either indifferent or contemptuous of the national election campaign that, on March 4, will determine who runs Europe’s fourth-largest economy.

Full Article: Italy Is Having an Election. Most Italians Are Too Depressed to Care. - The New York Times.

Italy: The Mystery Man Who Runs Italy’s ‘Five Star’ From the Shadows | The New York Times

He may potentially be the most powerful man in Italy, yet few people know who he is. Foreign ambassadors seek him out, even though he holds no public office. He claims to be but a simple member of a political movement, volunteering free technical assistance, but critics say he and his small Milan company control the votes, the candidates and the policies of the country’s leading party. As Italy faces critical national elections on Sunday, the media-shy internet entrepreneur, Davide Casaleggio, is the Wizard of Oz-like figure behind the tightly drawn curtain of the country’s front-running Five Star Movement as it approaches real political power.

Full Article: The Mystery Man Who Runs Italy’s ‘Five Star’ From the Shadows - The New York Times.

Italy: Violence and harassment rise in echo of 1970s unrest | The Guardian

Political violence ais increasing in Italy in the final weeks before the country votes in national elections, with skirmishes between fascists and leftwing activists, and racially motivated attacks on migrants reported. The incidents, including an attack on one of the leaders of the far-right group Forza Nuova in Palermo on Wednesday morning, are reminiscent of a far more violent era in Italy – the so-called Years of Lead that began in the late 1960s when the country suffered a wave of domestic terrorism by forces on the extreme left and right.

Full Article: Italy election: violence and harassment rise in echo of 1970s unrest | World news | The Guardian.

Italy: As rival parties court Russia, Italy warns of election threat | Associated Press

Italian government officials are warning of possible foreign interference in the March 4 general election, sounding the alarm following the U.S. indictment of Russian trolls and evidence of Russian-sourced fake news on popular Italian platforms. Premier Paolo Gentiloni on Tuesday released Italy’s annual security report, which aside from highlighting the threat of Islamic extremism, warned about online “influence campaigns” that aim to “condition both the sentiment and political orientation of public opinion, especially at election time.” The report didn’t mention Russia by name. But for months, U.S. and Italian analysts have warned that European elections are prime targets for Russian meddling, with the Italian contest particularly ripe because two key opposition parties — the nationalist League and the anti-establishment, populist 5-Star Movement — have cultivated ties with Moscow.

Full Article: Italy warns of election threat as rival parties court Russia - The Washington Post.

Italy: In the war against election interference, Italy takes the lead | The Washington Post

The 37-page indictment issued by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team last Friday may have revealed the details of Russia’s efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. But to some, what appeared even more striking were the details about just how vulnerable the United States had become to such — sometimes barely disguised — attempts to sway public opinion. On page 24 of the indictment, one of the defendants, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, is quoted with a worrisome assertion, made in September 2017: “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.” … While some in the U.S. government still appear unwilling to fully confront the problem, other countries are now leading the way in developing possible solutions. With elections coming up in March, Italy has emerged on the forefront of European efforts to stop interference.

Full Article: Robert Mueller indictment: As U.S. still debates whether Russia interfered, Europe is several steps ahead - The Washington Post.

Italy: Now Bots Are Trying to Help Populists Win Italy’s Election | Bloomberg

Shortly after midnight on Jan. 24, the home-made device David Puente built to catch fake Twitter accounts in the act started rumbling. In just over a minute, more than 150 users sent out the same tweet extolling Italian anti-euro populist Matteo Salvini, a contender in next month’s presidential election. It was obvious to Puente, a computer programmer, that they were bots, or automated accounts that masquerade as real people and are used increasingly as a tool to sway political opinion. “Monitoring the accounts of all the candidates is a civic duty for me,” said Puente, 35, who often stays up until 3 a.m. tracking social-media activity from his home in northern Italy while his family sleeps.

Full Article: Now Bots Are Trying to Help Populists Win Italy's Election - Bloomberg.

Italy: ‘Whoever Wins Won’t Govern’ | The New York Review of Books

“This is a non-election,” a professor of philosophy tells me in a bar in Milan. “I will not vote.” “Meaning?” “Whoever wins, they will not govern. All will go on just the same. Most key policies will be decided outside Italy.” The Italians go to the polls on March 4, and from outside, it might look as though there are major, exciting, and, above all, dangerous developments in the offing: the return of the octogenarian Silvio Berlusconi, the rapid rise of anti-establishment Five Star Movement, the ever more aggressive rhetoric of the xenophobic Northern League. Yet the perception among most Italians is that the political system is simply too dysfunctional and blocked for much to happen at all.

Full Article: Italy: ‘Whoever Wins Won’t Govern’ | by Tim Parks | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books.

Italy: Election Expected To Produce Hung Parliament | Eurasia Review

Italy will vote on March 4 in an election expected to produce a hung parliament, instability and possible market turbulence in the eurozone’s third largest economy. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s cabinet set the date of the vote after the president dissolved parliament on 28 December, formally opening an election campaign which in practice has already been raging bitterly for weeks. With opinion polls suggesting no one will win a parliamentary majority, Gentiloni said he would remain in office and ensure continuity until a new administration was in place. As things stand, a centre-right alliance around Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy) looks set to take the largest number of seats – potentially catapulting the 81-year-old four-times premier back to centre stage, even though he cannot become prime minister due to a tax fraud conviction.

Full Article: Italy: Election Expected To Produce Hung Parliament – Eurasia Review.

Italy: President Dissolves Parliament and Officially Opens Election Season | The New York Times

The countdown to Europe’s next pivotal election began on Thursday, when Italy’s president dissolved the Parliament and effectively opened the campaign for the first national elections in five years, scheduled for March 4. The move by President Sergio Mattarella now places Italy’s always tumultuous politics in the spotlight after a year in which populist forces, while beaten back in elections in several other countries, continued to reshape the political landscape across Europe. The general election will be Italy’s first since 2013, when the government led by the center-left Democratic Party succeeded the caretaker administration of Mario Monti, a technocratic who stepped in after Silvio Berlusconi, then prime minister, resigned in the midst of Italy’s debt crisis.

Full Article: Italy’s President Dissolves Parliament and Officially Opens Election Season - The New York Times.