Italy: turning point for Matteo Salvini and the Lega

AThe trial of the Italian opposition leader Matteo Salvini begins on Saturday in the Sicilian city of Catania. The head of the right-wing Lega party is accused of having committed deprivation of liberty at the end of July 2019, when he was still interior minister. At that time he had forbidden the “Gregoretti”, a ship of the Italian coast guard with 130 rescued migrants on board, for five days to dock on the Italian mainland.

It almost sounds as if Salvini is happy about the start of the process, which is moving him back to the center of the national debate after a long Corona-related absence from the headlines.


Italy: The defeat in Tuscany is doubly painful for Salvini

IIn a constitutional vote, the Italians voted to reduce their parliament by around a third. After the next election, which is scheduled to take place in 2023, there will be only 600 politicians in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies instead of 945. The outcome of the referendum, which took place on Sunday and Monday, thus followed the forecasts and was clear: According to projections on Monday evening, around 70 percent of Italians voted yes.

The majority of voters followed the recommendation of the government coalition made up of the Five Star Movement and Partito Democratico (PD), which had spoken out in favor of the reform. The referendum was particularly vehemently called for by the populist five-star movement, which was elected to parliament with the most votes in the last election in 2018. One of her election promises back then was to cut back on “waste and costs in politics”.

Accordingly, Luigi Di Maio, former chairman of the Five Stars and currently Italy’s foreign minister, celebrated the referendum on Facebook as a “historic result” with euphoria.

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He continues: “We are returning to a normal parliament with 345 fewer seats and reduced privileges. That would never have happened without the five stars. ”He formulates somewhat cryptically that it is politics that give the citizens a signal.

A vote of no confidence in the politicians

Rather, the opposite is correct: the citizens sent their politicians a message with the outcome of the referendum. Namely, that they have had enough of them. The vote to downsize Parliament is a vote of no confidence in the country’s politicians, whom Italians have been fed up with for years.

This annoyance is well known and is used by the changing opposition parties in Italy to stir up a mood against the members of the governing parties. The five-star movement in particular, which emerged as an anti-establishment party around ten years ago, has always been trying to attract votes with the argument of wanting to clean up the encrusted political caste. It was not least this rhetoric that enabled the party to win in the last parliamentary elections.

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But the regional elections held at the same time as the referendum show that the five-star movement could not offer a solution to the Italians’ boredom with politicians. Although all party members were new to politics and vowed to do everything better than their predecessors, to be closer to the people and not receptive to the privileges of power, they failed the current mood test.

Their approval ratings plummeted in all of the seven Italian regions where citizens had been asked to the ballot box. Only in Apulia and Campania was the party even able to achieve double-digit values ​​and, according to projections, received 11.2 and 12.5 percent.

The results of the other parties in the regional elections also show that there is currently no political force in Italy that is equally enthusiastic about the country: The right-wing opposition parties had bet on taking over the government in various regions from the left PD, so theirs To underpin the claim to national supremacy and to demand new elections even more vehemently. But their plan didn’t work out. Three out of four regions remain in the hands of the PD. In the Marche region alone, as expected, the PD had to surrender to the candidate of the far right Fratelli d’Italia (FdI).

Losing in Tuscany was doubly painful for Salvini

It is particularly painful for Matteo Salvini, Lega boss and leader of the legal alliance, that he did not succeed in stealing symbolic Tuscany from the PD. For the region, which had always had left-wing heads of government since the Second World War, the PD and Lega had fought a heated battle, the outcome of which was open until the last moment and which the PD candidate won with a margin of almost nine percentage points could.

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The defeat in Tuscany is doubly painful for Salvini because a victory in the important region should serve to underpin his claim to leadership in the alliance of right-wing parties, which had recently wavered after the regional election in Emilia-Romagna that was lost in January.

Salvini gets further competition from his own party: Luca Zaia, outgoing President of the Veneto region, was re-elected with a breathtakingly high approval rating of 76 percent. It is interesting that Zaia’s Lega branch in the region won more than three times as many votes as Salvini’s mother party. With this result, Salvini’s party friend is reaping the fruits of his good work during the corona outbreak, which was brought under control early in the region.

Some political observers are now betting that Zaia Salvini, who is also weakened by an upcoming trial because of his decisions on migration issues during his time as interior minister, will dispute the leadership position in the Lega and then make himself the leader of the center-right alliance could. Zaia himself, however, does not want to hear about these rumors and always lets it be known that he does not feel called to any higher goals than the presidency of his region.

Senate lifts Matteo Salvini’s immunity

Now he could be tried again. The Italian Senate again withdrew the immunity of the former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. If convicted, the politician faces severe penalties.

On the other hand, FdI chairwoman Giorgia Meloni, who emerged as the clear winner from this election day, showed great interest in the leadership position: her party, which had only achieved 4.3 percent in the previous parliamentary elections, now succeeded in the PD with the brands to wrestle a region and to give it a very close race in Apulia. On the basis of this respectable success and her increasing approval ratings, Meloni increasingly develops into a serious competitor for Salvini for the leadership of the opposition.


immigrant rescue: The “captain” who confronted Salvini and lives where his backpack is posed | Ideas

When Carola Rackete is asked if she is interested in giving an interview, she responds dryly: “The world doesn’t need another white hero.” She does not use the word “heroine”, just as she prefers to be called “captain” instead of “captain” when commanding a ship. She argues that her womanhood is obvious enough that she needs to twist the feminine words. On board the Arctic Sunrise, of the Greenpeace organization, Rackete travels through Antarctica as part of the crew. She knows that the thunder of glaciers breaking, several times a day, is the soundtrack of a planet in climatic collapse. Antarctica is melting. To deal with overheating, call on the global community to conjugate the verb disobey. And live what she preaches: Rackete is a disobedient.

For disobeying, in 2019 she became known all over the planet. On June 12, she captained the humanitarian ship. Sea-Watch 3 when they found a boat adrift in the Mediterranean full of people fleeing the violence in Libya. Rackete disobeyed. Rather than return them to the country from which they had fled, as the coast guard demanded, he took them on board. He stated that Libya was not a safe place for survivors. With his ship loaded with refugees, many of them embroidery Due to torture, he tried to dock on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The then Minister of the Interior, the far right Matteo Salvini, prevented him. While she waited for an ever-postponed solution, the health of the passengers deteriorated. On June 29, Rackete disobeyed again: she docked without authorization in the port of Lampedusa with her ship of desperation. And they arrested her.

She is vegan. Always carry a Kindle and do not watch movies or series, read

Rackete does not speak Italian, but he does speak German, Spanish, English, Russian and French. Rather than German, she prefers to identify herself as “European,” a statement that becomes more significant after Brexit. She grew up in a town around Celle, in Lower Saxony, and as a teenager her main activity, apart from studying and sleeping, was playing games. World of Warcraft in the computer. Her father is an electrical engineer who came to work in the arms industry and her mother is an accountant. There was no magical awakening to the planet’s overheating. It was, as she defines it, “a journey.” Working on ships that go on scientific expeditions, I listened to researchers, witnessed the effects of climate change, and saw their desire to learn grow. After graduating in Nautical Sciences, she did a master’s degree in Environmental Conservation.

He hasn’t had a home for eight years. It goes from project to project, lots of volunteers. If you are forced to live with money during the intervals, you never spend more than 500 euros a month. She wears dreadlocks because the oceans are very windy and she prefers not to waste time fixing her hair. There are no children or marriage on her horizon. Your loved ones are a community made up of friends scattered all over the planet. She is vegan, although she accepts the vegetarian menu if there is no other option. Rackete’s house is where she puts her backpack, in which she carries a tent, a sleeping bag, half a dozen clothes, two pairs of shoes, 10 panties, the computer and a Kindle with about 100 books. Rackete does not watch movies and series. Read.

Attack the dogma of economic growth. Faced with the collapse of the planet, he says, it would be worse to obey

Last summer, the Italian judge who released her claimed that Rackete had fulfilled her duty to save the people on board. But Rackete still has two pending charges in Italy and her future is uncertain. How to move in a world where people are arrested for saving lives? Where do the authorities of so-called democratic countries criminalize humanitarian rescue calling it human trafficking or encouragement of illegal immigration? Rackete’s answer is to live by your own rules, which means “confronting the system directly”: fighting for the collective well-being instead of the individual, cooperating instead of competing, caring for the other instead of protecting yourself from it.
At 31, she represents a new type of human emerged on the fringes of the climate war. Unlike rebels in other historical moments, she is not driven by hope, but by what she calls a “humanitarian imperative.” Their logic is not to win, but to fight. Not alone, but with all those who are willing to create a society capable of living without leaving the planet exhausted. “The Earth has not been depleted because there are too many people, but because a minority has consumed most of the resources,” he says. In her first book,. It is time to act (Paidós), stands alongside the thinkers who attack the dogma of economic growth: you cannot grow more, you have to distribute the wealth that exists equitably.

While touring Antarctica, the geography where he spends most months of the year, Rackete dedicates himself to thinking about how to face the economic system. The future may be very difficult from a climate point of view, but there is an opportunity to create a more just society. Quickly, because there is no time. This captain already has a course: “The problem is not civil disobedience, but obedience.” It is time to act. And to act, he says, is to disobey.


In Italy, the delicate modification of the “Salvini decrees”

A year ago, immigration was placed by 44% of Italians at the top of their concerns. But since February, it has been the Covid-19 pandemic that has grabbed attention, with the painful toll of 34,500 dead. According to the Demos Institute, only 9% of Italians consider the issue of migrants as a priority.

→ REPORTAGE. In Ventimiglia, solidarity across the border

However, the situation could change. Summer is coming and, according to Italian intelligence, “20,000 people are ready to leave the Libyan coast” to reach the island of Lampedusa. In addition, arrivals from Tunisia never stopped. Between 1is January and June 20, the Interior Ministry recorded the landing of 5,832 migrants, most of them from Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ivory Coast, compared to 2,242 at the same time in 2019.

Towards a modification of “security decrees”

Currently, two humanitarian ships are at sea. Sea-Watch 3, flying the German flag, recovered 211 migrants and reported several boats in difficulty. The Ionian sea, from the NGO Mediterranea, rescued seventy. Flying the Italian flag, he received authorization from the coast guard to land them in the port of Pozzallo, in Sicily. A third boat, theOcean Viking of SOS Mediterranean, resumed operations Monday, June 22.

In this context, the government is considering modifying the “security decrees” of 2018 and 2019 taken by Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League, then Minister of the Interior and fiercely hostile to immigration. They provide for the closure of ports to NGO boats, fines – up to one million euros – for owners or owners of boats rescuing migrants and the seizure of ships. In addition, the protection system for asylum seekers and refugees has been abolished. When they signed, the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, expressed strong reservations.

The right and the far right are fuming

At the current stage of negotiations, the road promises to be thorny between the Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, attentive to the plight of the refugees, and representatives of the ruling parties, the Democratic Party and the 5-Star Movement (M5S). The first requests a new “immigration decree”. The second proposes a simple correction: the reduction of fines for NGOs and the cancellation of the seizure of their boats.

The opposition of the right and the far right is also fuming against a massive regularization operation of undocumented migrants, agricultural workers or at home, launched on June 5 and scheduled to end on August 15 (read below). According to a survey by the Ixè institute published on June 17, the League maintains a strong base in Italy, with 24.3% of the voting intentions, ahead of the Democratic Party (22%) and the M5S (16%).


Temporary regularization targeting 220,000 people

The Italian government launched in early June a temporary regularization procedure for illegal immigrants valid until 15 August. The target population is estimated at 220,000 people.

The aim is to fight against illegal practices exploitation of the workforce and ensuring health coverage, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also to compensate for the absence of hundreds of thousands of seasonal foreign workers, who were unable to come because of the pandemic.

In two weeks, 32,000 regularization requests have been recorded, 90% coming from the personal assistance sector, and in particular “badante”, carers, often from Eastern countries, who help elderly people at home.

Employers Must Apply by paying a flat-rate contribution of € 500, while foreigners whose residence permit has expired can request a temporary permit.


Simon Schama on populists: “Their strength lies in their rhetoric”

NOf course, Sir Simon Schama, one of Britain’s best known historians, has a lot of historical comparisons ready for the corona pandemic. However, he does not feel reminded of the black plague or the Spanish flu. If one takes into account all dimensions of this pandemic example, the comparison to 1945 comes to mind, the year in which the Second World War ended.

WORLD: Hasn’t this crisis shown that many of these simple populist solutions can only be fake? Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson and other rulers who initially cared little about the emergency were overwhelmed by the Covid 19 crisis.


Trial of Mateo Salvini for kidnapping of migrants postponed to October

The Sicilian court that was due to start the trial against the former Italian interior minister in JulyMatthew Salvini,accused of preventing the disembarkation of migrants from a Coast Guard ship, has announced the postponement to October of the hearings due to the judicial blockade derived from the coronavirus pandemic.

A day before the Senate ruled on a possible authorization for another similar case against Salvini, related to the blockade of the NGO Open Arms ship, Catania judge Nunzio Sarpietro has confirmed the postponement of the trial,against the criteria of the Prosecutor’s Office, according to the newspaper ‘La Repubblica’.

Salvini is accused ofkidnapping for preventing during days in summer 2019, when he was still holder of Interior, thelanding of the 131 migrants rescued by the patrol boat ‘Gregoretti’. The incident was one of the most controversial moments in the ‘closed ports’ policy applied by the leader of the League.


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