The Center-Right’s Search for a Leader: Crisis and Radicalization

in Italian Politics
Restricted access

This chapter deals with the political crisis of the Italian center-right that started with the fall of the Berlusconi IV government and the 2013 general elections. In 2015, the struggle for leadership of the center-right took place between Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, resulting in the reversal of the balance of power between Forza Italia and the Lega Nord. Based on election results and some electoral surveys, Lega Nord seems to have become the third party at the national level and, through a process of radicalization, also the party of the new Italian right. From an organizational point of view, Salvini’s leadership can be defined as a personalized and postmodern media leadership. The systemic risks of this scenario are the absence of a center-right party that can compete with the Partito Democratico led by Matteo Renzi, the growing fragmentation of the center-right, and the conflict between moderate and radical tendencies. All these factors challenge the return to an alternating democracy.