An Italian government deal was reached which will bring Guiseppi Conte back to power as the head of a coalition between Five Star and the Italian Democrat Party. The arrangement between the two rival factions will last until 2023, provided they are willing to work together.
This deal will shift Italy firmly back toward a cooperative arrangement with the EU, although it retains a strong element of nationalism within it. The main result is that the anti-immigrant, fiery leader of The League, Matteo Salvini, is frozen out of direct influence in the Italian government. This is a strong blow against his international allies like Steve Bannon and various Russian oligarchs.
It also signals a likely chilling effect in the relationship between Conte and Trump; Conte was Trump’s strongest ally in the EU, but much of that was driven by Matteo’s agenda. Bannon has reportedly become one of the rare people to re-enter Trump’s orbit after being dismissed, with Trump regularly contacting him for strategy talks.
Trump has a new ally, though: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Yesterday, Boris announced restrictions on official gatherings of Parliament through October. This will greatly diminish any power that MPs have to delay the projected Brexit date of October 31. It effectively solidifies that date and creates three potential scenarios.
The BBC provided reactions from across the political spectrum.
First, the EU negotiators may buckle and accept new terms; this is unlikely, as they have faced deadlines before and not budged. The argument for this option is that Boris Johnson is viewed as more resolute than Theresa May. It is a view voiced primarily by Johnson supporters.
Second, the MPs may be able to negotiate a delay or a new vote anyway; the chance is dramatically lessened by Johnson’s move, but it does still remain. This is the scenario which holds the hopes of many anti-Brexit Britons.
Lastly, the UK may trigger a hard Brexit at the end of October, removing itself from the EU. This is overwhelmingly the most likely of the scenarios.
The move is completely within the power of Johnson, but the exercise of that rarely-used power is being attacked. Both pro- and anti-Brexit factions are accusing the other, with reason, of being anti-Democratic. The pro-Brexit group is pointing out that the vote of the people has been stymied for three years and there are attempts to avoid carrying out the clear result of the vote; the anti-Brexit group is pointing out that the legal efforts of the properly elected representatives are being squelched by an authoritarian. The fact that both sides are correct is merely adding fuel to the fires of discontent which are currently roiling Britain.