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Predicted Impact of 2018 Italian Elections On Italy-US Relations

Roberto Masiero By Roberto Masiero | January 08, 2018 | United States

What's next for Italy after the 2018 Elections?

Currently relations between the United States (US) and Italy are at the higher end of the spectrum when compared to US relations with other countries worldwide. This has been the case for decades, with Italy being a cooperative member of NATO and also contributing military resources to the war in Iraq through 2006.

If the center-right political party coalition, which is influenced by Silvio Berlusconi, wins the next Italian elections in March of 2018, this will most likely result in strengthened relations between the US and Italy. This would be expected because of the similarity in the political backgrounds of the elected officials and administrators that would comprise each government.

However the similarity may not be too noticeable due to the splintered nature of Italian government and the fact that political ideologies between the two countries do not line up precisely.

Europe’s shift to the political right has been in progress for years and the Brexit vote of 2016 was only one manifestation of this shift, albeit a big one.

Analysts are predicting the center-right political party coalition to increase its power in Italian politics and government after the March, 2018, elections because of the growing popularity of the issues it is choosing to put its weight behind. These issues include opposition to the surge in migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, a conservative stance on social, a capitalistic approach to economic issues and support for a close relationship with the US.

The center-right coalition is made up of such parties as Forza Italia (FI), Northern League (LN) and Brothers of Italy (Fdl).

In addition the center-right coalition of Berlusconi-Salvini-Meloni will now also have its "fourth leg" called "Noi con l'Italia" that brings together some politicians who for some time chose different roads but now have come back to Berlusconi. Also the new political movement of Sgarbi/Tremonti "Rinascimento" could help the center-right coalition.

Of course America has been making a shift to the political right for a while now as well, with the last milestone being the election of Republican candidate Trump to the Presidency in 2016. The trend had began in 2010 with Republicans gaining a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, continued with Republicans gaining a majority of seats in the Senate in 2014 and maintaining their majorities in 2016.

Some of the main issues specific to the US that Republicans and Trump have utilized to win at the polls are repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code, stemming rampant illegal immigration and reducing government regulations.

And the momentum still seemed to be present in 2017 if one looks at the Republicans winning 5 out of 7 congressional elections.

Again, the overall conservative approach to governance of the Trump administration would match up well with that of the Italian center-right, leading to stronger relations.

The only way relations would weaken would be if the center-left and big tent political parties attempt to cast similarities between the Trump administration and center-right Italian political parties in a negative light and use it against the latter in an attempt to drive voters to the left wing’s side.

The effect would only be slight, but it could chill US-Italy relations similar to the way left wing political parties in the US have chilled US-Russia relations by doing the same thing.

by @RobertoMasiero






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