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Ferdinando Giugliano

Italy Faces Its Moment of Truth on the Euro

Matteo Salvini won’t be able to hide behind Giovanni Tria and Luigi Di Maio now. He’ll have to show exactly where he stands on fiscal policy and Europe.

The ultimate taste test.

The ultimate taste test.

Photographer: Ettore Ferrari/ANSA

Matteo Salvini’s decision to pull the plug on Italy’s government was, in a way, one of the easiest choices in modern political history. His right-wing party, the League, is riding high in the polls and its populist coalition partner, the Five Star Movement, is collapsing. At the same time the mainstream opposition is fragmented.

A new election would almost certainly establish the League as the dominant force in Italy’s parliament and crown Salvini prime minister. Many commentators – including me – had grown tired of all the intrigue and speculation about whether he’d take the plunge, and had started to think he’d keep the status quo for as long as he could get away with it. Putting that to one side, it’s strange he waited so long.