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Rising populism in the country


12-05-2016 09:15 BJT

Italy's Five Star Movement, or M-5-S, is a populist, anti-establishment party, which has developed quickly in recent years. Some believe Sunday's referendum is a test for populist sentiment across the country. Such sentiment may even affect the European Union and the entire Western world.

Eight years have passed since the 2008 Europe debt crisis. But Italy is still struggling with a sluggish economy, high debt and joblessness. Public anger prompted the fast development of the Five Star Movement.

A defeat for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the referendum could pave the way to a national election and the Five Star Movement is among the powerful contenders.

And if this happens, the referendum would only serve as a litmus test of populism's unstoppable rise in the West, right after Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of populist and right-wing political parties in France and Austria.

"It's the big economic and financial crisis of 2008 that has left many, many worse-off situation, has left the ruling elites in the West deeply unsatisfied and unable to provide new solutions to new problems," Dr. Luca Taredelli, scholar with London School of Economics and Political Science, said.

Anti-elite, anti-EU and anti-refugee, those are the stances that the populist parties advocate. Dr. Tardelli says the rise of populism is also people's way of asking for control of everything, including their borders and political system.

"Globalization has not favored all segments of the Western society equally, especially low-paid jobs. And people are asking for control, for control of borders, for control of their own fate, for control of their political system. The key word here is sovereignty," Dr. Luca Taredelli said.

It's believed that the Five Star Movement will hugely influence Italy if it continues to grow and the rise of populism in the West will also test the EU integration and the process of globalization.

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