Former Prime Minister and Senator Matteo Renzi has returned to the forefront to counteract the perfect storm that Matteo Salvini (League) has created by dynamiting the government's coalition with the 5 Star Movement (M5S). After breaking into the scene like a cyclone willing to wipe out the old policy first and then move on to ostracism later, becoming an outcast after losing a constitutional referendum that cost him the job and that has marked the last three years of Italian politics, Renzi once again has space in the complex and intricate current political situation, as the key to a new Government of national unity. In a telephone interview with EL PAÍS, he explains the reasons why he has advocated an agreement of all political forces to stop the leader of the ultra-right-wing League.
Question. Italy is on the verge of an institutional crisis, how has this situation been reached?
Answer. It is the responsibility of a single man: Matteo Salvini. If I had chosen to ask for the early vote after the European elections, it would have been a very selfish, perhaps cynical, but institutionally correct election. On the other hand, he wanted to wait for the weeks to pass and has suddenly precipitated everything, when there is no time to call an election before the processing of the budgets and against the Italian traditions that say that while the budgets are being made it is not vote
P. What can be the consequences?
R. To this is added a very provocative message from Salvini to the Italians: "Give me full powers." In Italy the last one who asked for full powers was Mussolini. This joins the problem of the slowdown of the German economy, the commercial war between China and the United States, and the fact that in Italy the Government of Salvini and the M5S has projected for 2020 a tax increase. In short, it is the perfect chaos.
P. What alternatives do you see in this scenario?
R. In the face of this institutional crisis there are two alternatives: the first is to go to elections and cause an economic disaster; the second is to stop everything and launch a government that I call institutional.
P. You have the key to an institutional government or an electoral advance, what will you do?
The numbers for a Government of national unity are given in Parliament "
R. I believe that the numbers are given in Parliament to form a Government of national unity and not go to elections. I work to achieve this goal. I do not do it as a member of my party, or for personal reasons, but as a former prime minister who is seeing a situation of serious difficulty and has decided to return to lend a hand.
P. What does it pose?
R. I do not want Italy to go into recession because of a tax increase or the exit of the euro. When things have been resolved, and the accounts have been secured, that the political forces of the Government of national unity are confronted with each other. Now we have to save Italy, we will divide later in the elections.
P. October will be a momentous month for Italy's future relationship with the EU for budgets. Who should prepare these public accounts?
R. Salvini has asked for a vote in Parliament (to set the date for the debate on the motion of censure against Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for August 14) and has lost it. I should resign. But since he is not going to do it, the most logical thing would be for the populist government that has failed to resign and for a new one to be created from September that can elaborate budgets and play a role in Europe.
P. Is the permanence of Italy in the European Union at stake?
R. If Salvini asks for full powers and wins, it is clear that everything is possible with him. There is a risk of creating chaos also at European level. At the same time, I know that in the Parliament there is a Europeanist majority, who does not want to know anything about the exit of the euro and has voted in favor of Ursula von der Leyen as president of the European Commission (Forza Italia by Silvio Berlusconi, PD and M5S ).
The PD, all the lefts, must at all costs avoid a government of Salvini "
P. Why now he is in favor of a pact with the M5S and after the last generals it was not?
R. A year and a half ago the pact would have been a real slap to the voters, since the M5S and the League obtained 50% between the two. Together they promised unrealizable things, spending thousands and billions, they promised a political agenda that was amazing and their experience of government after a year and a half has shown all the limits. I call, not only to the M5S, but to all political forces to avoid the climate of hate and the excesses of Salvini. Then, once the Italian economic and cultural situation is secured, let's go to elections.
P. Have you talked to someone from the 5 Star Movement? Do you see conditions for an approach?
R. I have been the most attacked by the M5S, but now, above my resentment, is the country. Let's talk to the Movement. I think that in the M5S there is a sensitivity to be able to form a Government. Let's see if they are able to sit at a table with the rest of the games and if each one is willing to give up something. Let's secure the accounts and leave Salvini in a minority and when the elections are called, may the best man win.
P. How do you see Salvini's decision to accept voting for the reform to reduce the number of parliamentarians that the M5S asked for and that he had so far rejected?
R. Salvini was convinced to have the country and the Parliament on hand, convinced to go to vote and win by a win. Today, thanks to the work of many of us, Salvini is afraid, he faces more difficulties, so much so that yesterday (on Tuesday) he tried to turn back. But, in my opinion, his time is over, in a week he will no longer be the Italian Interior Minister.
Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi calls to avoid a Salvini government at all costs.
Question. Since he stopped being prime minister, Italy has turned to a party of ultra-right and xenophobic dyes. What happened?
Answer. I think that Italy, after having seen how Salvini works, wants and needs a moment of national unity from those who do not believe in the extremist right, who do not incite hatred, because Salvini does that, induces hatred and we must educate in the esperanze.
P. Has Italy become a racist country?
R. I was touched by a letter from an adoptive mother of a black child who denounced episodes of racism. Salvini induces hatred using the same words Trump uses in the United States, speaks of invasion. It is true that one part of the Italians has given Salvini confidence, but there is another part, which in my opinion is the majority, which is tired of the preachers of hate.
P. Is the M5S complicit in Salvini's policy?
R. We will see it in the coming weeks. If they want to go ahead with this, they will accept Salvini's culture, which has decided when to vote, and how and why, and who wants to decide everything alone. If the M5S makes the most reasonable wing prevail, they will stop Salvini and there will be a government I hope will be guided by a credible and authoritative personality that will know how to take Italy to the position it deserves in the world.
R. Are you aware that your new movement projects a more divided left?
R. The division is so secondary to me right now that I am willing to create a Government of national unity. The PD, all lefts, must at all costs avoid opening the way to a Salvini government.
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