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Matteo Salvini, Italian interior minister, left, and Giuseppe Conte, prime minister © Reuters

Italy in Political Turmoil: 5 Geopolitical Effects You Need to Know

1. Salvini calls for new elections

The leader of Italy’s ruling League party, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, declared the governing coalition to be unworkable on Thursday after months of internal bickering and said the only way forward was to hold fresh elections. The shock announcement follows a period of intense public conflict and debate between the right-wing League and its coalition partner, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, and it throws Italy into an uncertain political future. Salvini said in a statement he had told Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who belongs to neither coalition party, that the alliance with 5-Star had collapsed after barely a year in power and “we should quickly give the choice back to the voters”. 5-Star was the largest party at last year’s elections but it has struggled since the government was formed, while Salvini has prospered thanks to his popular hard line on immigration and a charismatic and informal “man of the people” public image. The call for an election looks like a smart move by Salvini at the right time, but it remains to be seen whether it will happen.

2. Increased focus on anti-migration

Salvini and the right-wing coalition has clearly noticed the popularity it is gaining from its anti-immigration policy and is stepping it up. Italy now appears to be targeting rescue boats on the Mediterranean, which has sparked the concern of the UK and the EU. The new law which was passed gives the government in Rome more authority to block ships trying to bring migrants ashore.

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3. EU tensions becoming dangerous

4. How long can Italy’s populist government last?

5. Berlusconi re-appears to take advantage

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