Robert HARNEIS -TDO-(FRANCE)- EU leaders had been congratulating themselves that the Italian Euro Sceptic Matteo Salvini had been pushed out of the coalition government. Unable to carry out his Euro-sceptic economic policies Salvini attempted to force an early election but was baffled by the formation of the present unlikely coalition between the anti-European 5Star movement and the pro-European Democrats. Brussels heaved a sigh of relief that the man who was shaking the foundations of the Euro by his policies was gone at last. However, in the latest regional elections the Left were beaten in Umbria for the first time in 50 years.
Donatella Tesei, a senator for the League, who was also backed by the far-right Brothers of Italy and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, won the top seat as governor with 57.6% of the votes. The result restores impetus to Mr. Salvini after what was prematurely thought of as a political blunder led to his party losing a place in the country’s national government this summer.
The new 5-Star/PD alliance failed its first electoral test in Umbria as Vincenzo Bianconi, leader of the civic alliance backed by the two parties, won only 37.5 percent of the votes.
Ms. Tesei said there was a “a lot of work” ahead and vowed to prelaunch the local economy by tackling unemployment and dedicating resources to reconstruction in the region after an earthquake struck three years ago. She said: “We must reverse the trend, revise expenses and free up resources that must be invested to improve the quality of services for citizens and companies.”
Mr. Salvini defined the victory - the eighth in a row for the Centre-right in regional ballots since the last national election in March 2018 - as a “chapter in history”.
Salvini has recently softened his hostility to the EU and the Euro but no one is under the slightest illusion that he is bitterly opposed to the austerity politics pushed by the European Central Bank and Germany upon which the cohesion of the Euro depends.