By Simon Basketter
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Populist right wins in Italian elections

This article is over 6 years, 2 months old
Issue 2507

Italy’s populist 5-Star Movement moved one step closer to governing the capital Rome on Monday.

Returns released from nationwide municipal elections over the weekend took its candidate to a runoff vote in two weeks’ time.

The 5-Star candidate Virginia Raggi got around 37 percent of the vote. Roberto Giachetti, from the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), only just got more than far right candidate Giorgia Meloni.

A victory for the movement would be a blow to the center-left government of prime minister Matteo Renzi. His Democratic Party candidates struggled in the first round of voting in many Italian cities.

A series of corruption scandals have added to the sense of decay around the government.

The previous PD mayor of Rome resigned after an expenses scandal.

The PD came to office after voters rejected austerity, only to pursue cuts at a slightly slower speed than the European Unino has demanded.

The 5-Star Movement campaigns on corruption but has demanded more clampdowns on migrants.

Education protests hit Croatia

Over 40,000 people marched in 12 cities in Croatia, including 25,000 in the capital Zagreb, against the right wing coalition stalling education reforms last Wednesday.

It was organised by the “Croatia Can Do Better” initiative, which is backed by many trade unions.

The previous Labour-type government set up a panel in 2014 to overhaul education, but the panel resigned last week under nationalist pressure.

Education minister Predrag Sustar is from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, a reactionary organisation.

The right’s rise has been fuelled partly by disillusionment with the European Union (EU), which Croatia joined in 2013.

The EU has demanded austerity measures from its newest member state and the right is using the refugee crisis to whip up nationalism.

But the protests were a sign of deep-seated anger against a right wing coalition that could fall.

Tomáš Tengely-Evans

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