Jorge del Palacio Martín
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The Italian left and the crisis
The case of Matteo Renzi’s Partito Democratico
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In Italy, just like in the majority of southern European countries, the economic crisis that got underway in 2008 soon translated into a serious political, social and institutional crisis whose consequences led to major changes in the party system. Without a doubt, the most important change came in the 2013 elections with the breakthrough of a new political party that managed to capitalise on the protest vote against the system: the MoVimento Cinque Stelle (M5S, Five Star Movement), founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo. M5S then entered government after the 2018 general election. The consolidation of the M5S as a governing alternative has had at least two major consequences for Italy’s political system. In terms of elections, the emergence of the M5S has led to the end of a kind of bipolarism based on competition between left and right coalitions that has defined the Second Republic in Italy. Ideologically, the discourse of the M5S has largely shaped the political agenda of the leading parties in Italy on both ends of the political spectrum.

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