The Italian foreign minister and former leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) is calling for protests this weekend against the government he sits in, as Italy appears set for another period of political instability.
Luigi Di Maio said the Italian people “must peacefully demonstrate” in Rome on Saturday against a system that “wants to cancel our laws”.
The uneasy coalition between the anti-establishment M5S and the centre-left Democratic party (PD) was formed last year to prevent elections that could have brought Matteo Salvini’s far-right League to power, but has been seriously weakened by dwindling support for M5S and a steady exodus of its elected representatives.
The appeal to protest was ramped after Matteo Renzi, the former prime minister who leads Italia Viva, a PD splinter group that is part of the government coalition, on Tuesday threatened a no-confidence vote on the M5S justice minister, Alfonso Bonafede, in a row over justice reforms.
M5S, founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo, was phenomenal in opposition, enabling it to come first in national elections in March 2018 with 33% of the vote. But it has been less successful at governing, with Salvini capitalising on the party’s inexperience to double support for the League while the two parties were in coalition.
M5S lost over half of its voters since 2018 with bruising defeats in recent regional elections in Emilia-Romagna and Calabria testament to just how bad things have become.
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