Avanti Salvini

Matteo Salvini makes his long-awaited move:

Crisi di governo, le dimissioni di Conte: “Il governo finisce qui, Salvini ha seguito interessi personali e di partito”. 

Goverment crisis, the resignation of Prime Minister Conte: “The government is finished here, Salvini has followed his personal ambitions and the interests of his party.

What’s happening here is that the nationalists of La Lega are in a position to take power in the Italian government without their former left-wing allies in the Movimento Cinque Stelle who have been preventing them from dealing conclusively with the migration crisis and the European Union.

So, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is the most popular man in Italy now due to his forthright nationalism, brought down the government by severing the La Lega-Cinque Stelle alliance with the intention of forcing new elections in October. Rather than try to avoid the elections by putting together a new minority government, Conte elected to resign and end the current government.

The irony, of course, is that Salvini is the one politician who actually cares about the Italian nation. Conte is projecting when he implies that Salvini is only pursuing power for its own sake. And the amusing thing was the way that Salvini responded to Conte’s broadside by kissing the crucifix he was holding in his hand.

I’m not entirely certain what he meant by that, but I suspect it was a gesture intended to echo that of many Italian soccer players when they are substituted for a starter. They reach down, touch the grass, cross themselves, then raise the team badge on the chest of their jersey and kiss it. In other words, Salvini was symbolically saying “you’re done, Conte. It’s my turn now.”