Do Populists Govern Differently? The Management of the Italian M5S-League Coalition in Comparative Perspective

Os populistas governam de forma diferente? Perspectivas do caso italiano M5S-League em perspectiva comparativa

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21814/perspectivas.2557

Keywords:

Coalition governance, Populism, Italian Government, Five Star Movement, League

Abstract

In West European context, the first fully-fledged populist government that entered office in Italy in 2018 (Conte I) has been presented as a peculiar case. After discussing party dilemmas within coalitions, the article analyses – in comparative perspective – how the two partners M5S and League managed inter-party relations despite their divergent policy preferences. The work focuses on both structural and dynamic mechanisms of coalition governance. Particular attention is paid to the coalition agreement, which is compared to the benchmark case of the German Merkel IV cabinet. Findings show that the Conte I cabinet diverged from the Italian tradition, but approached other European models, despite its rhetoric of exceptionality. Yet, poor definition of policy goals and ambiguous governance mechanisms are observed.

Resumo

No contexto da Europa Ocidental, o primeiro governo populista de pleno direito que entrou em funções na Itália em 2018 (Conte I) foi apresentado como um caso peculiar. Após discutir os dilemas partidários dentro das coligações, o artigo analisa - em perspectiva comparativa - como os dois parceiros M5S e Liga geriram as relações interpartidárias apesar das suas preferências políticas divergentes. O trabalho centra-se tanto nos mecanismos estruturais como dinâmicos de governação da coligação. É dada especial atenção ao acordo da coligação, que é comparado com o caso de referência do gabinete alemão Merkel IV. Os resultados mostram que o gabinete Conte I divergiu da tradição italiana, mas abordou outros modelos europeus, apesar da sua retórica de excepcionalidade. No entanto, observa-se uma má definição dos objetivos políticos e mecanismos ambíguos de governança.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Michelangelo Vercesi, Leuphana University Lüneburg

Michelangelo Vercesi is a Research Associate in Comparative Politics at Leuphana University in Lüneburg and elected member of the Executive Board of the International Committee on Political Sociology (CPS). He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pavia (Italy). Outside Germany, Michelangelo Vercesi has taught and held visiting positions at the University of Vienna (Austria), University of Milan (Italy), and Keele University (United Kingdom). His research focuses on comparative government, political elites and leadership, and political parties. On these topics, he has published several book chapters with Oxford, SAGE, and Routledge as well as articles in peer-reviewed journals, such as Government and Opposition; Parliamentary Affairs; Representation; European Politics and Society; Rgional and Federal Studies; and others.

References

Andeweg, Rudy B. 2000. “Ministers as Double Agents? The Delegation Process between Cabinet and Ministers.” European Journal of Political Research 37(3): 377-95.

Andeweg, Rudy B., and Arco Timmermans. 2008. “Conflict Management in Coalition Government.” In Cabinets and

Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe, edited by Kaare Strøm, Wolfgang C. Müller, and T. Bergman, 269-300. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Axelrod, Robert. 1970. Conflict of Interest. A Theory of Divergent Goals with Applications to Politics. Chicago: Markham.

Barbieri, Cristina. 2001. Il capo del governo in Italia. Uma ricerca empirica. Milano: Giuffrè.

Barbieri, Cristina, and Michelangelo Vercesi. 2013. “The Cabinet: A Viable Definition in View of a Comparative Analysis.” Government and Opposition 48(4): 526-47.

Bergman, Torbjörn, Alejandro Ecker, and Wolfgang C. Müller. 2013. “How Parties Govern: Political parties and the Internal Organization of Government.”. In Party Governance and Party Democracy, edited by Wolfgang C. Müller and Hanne M. Narud, 33-50. New York: Springer.

Bergman, Torbjörn, Gabriella Ilonszki, and Wolfgang C. Müller. 2020. Coalition Governance in Central Eastern Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Blogherini, Silvia, and Gabriele D’Ottavio. 2019. La Germania sospesa. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Blondel, Jean, and Ferdinand Müller-Rommel. 1993. Governing Together: The Extent and Limits of Joint DecisionMaking in Western European Cabinets. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Bowler, Shaun, Thomas Bräuninger, Marc Debus, and Indriði H. Indriðason. 2016. “Let’s Just Agree to Disagree:

Dispute Resolution Mechanisms in Coalition Agreements.” The Journal of Politics 78(4): 1264-78.

Bräuniger, Thomas, Marc Debus, Jochen Müller, and Christian Stecker. 2019. “Party Competition and Government Formation in Germany: Business as Usual or New Patterns?” German Politics 28(1): 80-100.

Budge, Ian, and Hans Keman.1992. Parties and Democracy. Coalition Formation and Government Functioning in Twenty States. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carroll, Royce, and Gary W. Cox. 2012. “Shadowing Ministers: Monitoring Partners in Coalition Governments.” Comparative Political Studies 45(2): 220-36.

Cavino, Massimo. 2019. “Una concezione svalutativa della rappresentanza parlamentare: il Contratto di governo.” Il Politico 84(2): 221-238.

Ceron, Andrea. 2019. Leaders, Factions and the Game of Intra-Party Politics. Abingdon: Routledge.

Chiaramonte, Alessandro, and Roberto D’Alimonte. 2018. “The New Italian Electoral System and Its Effects on Strategic Coordination and Disproportionality.” Italian Political Science 13(1): 8-18.

Curini, Luigi, and Francesco Zucchini. 2014. “The Institutional Foundations of Committee Cohesion in a (Changing) Parliamentary Democracy.” European Political Science Review 6(4): 527-47.

D’Alimonte, Roberto. 2019. “How the Populists Won in Italy.” Journal of Democracy 30(1): 114-27.

Diermeier, Daniel, and Randy T. Stevenson. 1999. “Cabinet Survival and Competing Risks.” American Journal of Political Science 43(4): 1051-68.

Druckman, James N., and Paul V. Warwick. 2005. “The Missing Piece: Measuring Portfolio Salience in Western European Parliamentary Democracies.” European Journal of Political Research 44(1): 17-42.

Ecker, Alejandro, and Thomas M. Meyer. 2015. “The Duration of Government Formation Processes in Europe.” Research Politics Online.

Eichorst, Jason. 2014. “Explaining Variation in Coalition Agreements: The Electoral and Policy Motivations for Drafting Agreements.” European Journal of Political Research 53(1): 98-115.

Falcó-Gimeno, Albert. 2012. “Parties Getting Impatient: Time Out of Office and Portfolio Allocation in Coalition

Governments.” British Journal of Political Science 42(2): 393-411.

Falcó-Gimeno, Albert. 2014. “The Use of Control Mechanisms in Coalition Governments: The Role of Preference Tangentiality and Repeated Interactions.” Party Politics 20(3): 341-56.

Gamson, William A. 1961. “A Theory of Coalition Formation.” American Sociological Review 26(3): 373-82.

Gianfreda, Stella, and Benedetta Carlotti. 2018. “The Different Twins: A Multilevel Analysis of the Positions of the Northern League and the Five Star Movement on the Integration-Demarcation Dimension.” Italian Political Science 13(2): 45-63.

Giannetti, Daniela, and Kenneth Benoit. 2009. Intra-Party Politics and Coalition Governments. London: Routledge.

Giannetti, Daniela, Andrea Pedrazzani, and Luca Pinto. 2018. “The Rising Importance of Non-Economic Policy Dimensions and the Formation of the Conte Government in Italy.” Italian Political Science 13(2): 27-44.

Giannetti, Daniela, Luca Pinto, and Carolina Plescia. 2020. “The First Conte Government: “Government of Change’ or Business as Usual?” Contemporary Italian Politics Latest Articles. Doi: 10.1080/23248823.2020.1745512.

Höhmann, Daniel, and Ulrich Sieberer. 2020. “Parliamentary Questions as a Control Mechanism in Coalition Governments.” West European Politics 42(1): 225-49.

Indriðason, Indriði H., and Christopher Kam. 2008. “Cabinet Reshuffles and Ministerial Drift.” British Journal of Political Science 38(4): 621-56.

Kim, Dong-Hung, and Gerhard Loewenberg. 2005. “The Role of Parliamentary Committees in Coalition Governments. Keeping Tabs on Coalition Partners in the German Bundestag.” Comparative Political Studies 38(9): 1104-29.

Krehbiel, Keith. 1993. “Where’s the Party?” British Journal of Political Science 23(2): 235-66.

Kubicek, Paul. 2017. European Politics. Second Edition. Abingdon: Routledge.

Laver, Michael, and Norman Schofield. 1990. Multiparty Government. The Politics of Coalition in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Laver, Michael, and Kenneth A. Shepsle. 1996. Making and Breaking Governments. Cabinets and Legislatures in Parliamentary Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Laver, Michael, and Kenneth A. Shepsle. 1999. “How Political Parties Emerged from the Primeval Slime: Party Cohesion, Party Discipline, and the Formation of Governments.” In Party Discipline and Parliamentary Government, edited

by Shaun Bowler, David M. Farell and Richard S. Katz, 23-48. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.

Luebbert, Gregory M. 1986. Comparative Democracy. Policymaking and Governing Coalitions in Europe and Israel. New York: Columbia University Press.

Lupia, Arthur, and Kaare Strøm. 2008. “Bargaining, Transaction Costs, and Coalition Governance.” In Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe, edited by Kaare Strøm, Wolfgang C. Müller and Torbjörn Bergman. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 51-83.

Marangoni, Francesco, and Luca Verzichelli. 2019. “GoatStag, Chimera or Chameleon? The Formation and First Semester of the Conte Government.” Contemporary Italian Politics 11(3): 263-79.

Martin, Lanny W., and Georg Vanberg. 2011. Parliaments and Coalitions: The Role of Legislative Institutions in Multiparty Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McDonnell, Duncan, and Annika Werner. 2018. “Respectable Radicals: Why Some Radical Right Parties in the European Parliament Forsake Policy Congruence.” Journal of European Public Policy 25(5): 747-63.

Miller, Bernhard, and Wolfgang C. Müller. 2010. “Managing Grand Coalitions: Germany 2005-9.” German Politics 19(3-4): 332-52.

Mitchell, Paul, and Benjamin Nyblade. 2008. “Government Formation and Cabinet Type in Parliamentary Democracies.” In Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe, edited by Kaare Strøm, Wolfgang C. Müller, and Torbjörn Bergman, 201-36. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Moury, Catherine. 2013. Coalition Government and Party Mandate. How Coalition Agreements Constrain Ministerial Action. London and New York: Routledge.

Moury, Catherine, Nicolò Conti, and Jorge M. Fernandes. 2019. “Italy.” In Party Mandates and Democracy. Making, Breaking, and Keeping Election Pledges in Twelve Countries, edited by Elin Naurin, Terry J. Royed and Robert Thomson, 205-22. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Moury, Catherine, and Arco Timmermans. 2008. “Conflitto e accordo in governi di coalizione: come l’Italia è sempre meno un caso differente.” Rivista italiana di scienza politica 38(3): 417-42.

Moury, Catherine, and Arco Timmermans. 2013. “InterParty Conflict Management in Coalition Governments: Analyzing the Role of Coalition Agreements in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.” Politics and Governance 1(2): 117-31.

Müller, Wolfgang C., and Thomas M. Meyer. 2010. “Mutual Veto? How Coalitions Work.” In Reform Processes and Policy Chance: Veto Players and Decision-Making in Modern Democracies, edited by Thomas König, George Tsebelis, and Marc Debus, 99-124. New York: Springer.

Müller, Wolfgang C., and Kaare Strøm. 2000. “Coalition Governance in Western Europe: An Introduction.” In Coalition Governments in Western Europe, edited by Wolfgang C. Müller and Kaare Strøm, 1-31. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Müller, Wolfgang C., and Kaare Strøm. 2008. “Coalition Agreements and Cabinet Governance.” In Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe, edited by Kaare, Strøm, Wolfgang C. Müller and Torbjör Bergman, 159-99. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Müller-Rommel, Ferdinand, and Michelangelo Vercesi. 2020. “Executive Power.” In The SAGE Handbook of Political Science, edited by Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Bertrand Badie and Leonardo Morlino: 760-75. London: Sage.

Naurin, Elin, Terry J. Royed, and Robert Thomson. 2019. Party Mandates and Democracy. Making, Breaking, and Keeping Election Pledges in Twelve Countries. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Pansardi, Pamela, and Michelangelo Vercesi. 2017. “Party Gate-Keeping and Women’s Appointment to Parliamentary Committees: Evidence from the Italian Case.” Parliamentary Affairs 70(1): 62-83.

Pasquino, Gianfranco. 2015. “The Presidents of the Republic.” In The Oxford Handbook of Italian Politics, edited by Erik Jones and Gianfranco Pasquino, 82-94. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pasquino, Gianfranco. 2019. “La formazione del governo.” In Un territorio inesplorato. Le elezioni del 4 marzo 2018, edited by Luigi Ceccarini and James L. Newell, 323-42. Santarcangelo di Romagna: Apogeo.

Pedrazzani, Andrea. 2018. “Introduction to the Special Issue: ‘Governo del cambiamento’? Italia Politics under the Yellow-Green Government.” Italian Political Science 13(2): 1-10.

Pinto, Luca. 2020. “The 2018 Italian General Election: a ‘New Italy’ or a ‘Dead End’?” Italian Political Science Review.

Santana Pereira, José, and Catherine Moury. 2018. “Planning the ‘Government of Change’: The 2018 Italian Coalition Agreement in Comparative Perspective.” Italian Political Science 13(2): 92-103.

Saalfeld, Thomas. 2008. “Institutions, Chance, and Choices: The Dynamics of Cabinet Survival.” In Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe, edited by Kaare Strøm, Wolfgang C. Müller and Torbjörn Bergman, 327-68. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Saalfeld, Thomas, Matthias Bahr, and Olaf Seifert. 2019. “Contractual Arrangements, Formal Institutions and Personalised Crisis Management: Coalition Governance Under Chancellor Merkel (2013-2017).” German Politics 28(3): 371-91.

Strøm, Kaare, and Wolfgang C. Müller. 2000. “The Keys to Togetherness: Coalition Agreements in Parliamentary Democracies.” In The Uneasy Relationships Between Parliamentary Members and Leaders, edited by Lawrence D. Longley and Reuven Y. Hazan, 255-82. London: Frank Cass, 255-82.

Strøm, Kaare, Wolfgang C. Müller, and Torbjörn Bergman. 2000. Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Strøm, Kaare, Wolfgang C. Müller, and Torbjörn Bergman. 2008. Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Strøm, Kaare, Wolfgang C. Müller, and Daniel M. Smith. 2010. “Parliamentary Control of Coalition Governments.” Annual Review of Political Science 13: 517-35.

Thies, Michael F. 2001. “Keeping Tabs on Partners: The Logic of Delegation in Coalition Governments.” American Journal of Political Science 45(3): 580-98.

Thomson, Robert et al. 2017. “The Fulfillment of Parties’ Election Pledges: A Comparative Study on the Impact of Power Sharing.” American Political Science Review 61(3): 527-42.

Timmermans, Arco. 2006. “Standing Apart and Sitting Together: Enforcing Coalition Agreements in Multiparty Systems.” European Journal of Political Research 45(2): 263-83.

Tsebelis, George. 2002. Veto Players. How Political Institutions Work. Princeton: Princeton University Press-Russell Sage Foundation.

Valbruzzi, Marco. 2018. “When Populists Meet Technocrats. The Italian Innovation in Government Formation.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 23(4): 460-80.

Valbruzzi, Marco. 2019. “Issues and Themes.” In The Italian General Election of 2018. Italy in Uncharted Territory, edited by Luigi Ceccarini and James L. Newell, 167-90. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Vehrkamp, Robert, and Theres Matthieß. 2018. “Versprochen wird nicht gebrochen.” Einwurf – Ein Policy Brief der Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Vercesi, Michelangelo. 2012. “Cabinets and DecisionMaking Processes: Re-Assessing the Literature.” Journal of Comparative Politics 5(2): 4-27.

Vercesi, Michelangelo. 2013. “Confliggere cooperando. Un’analisi concettuale del conflitto politico in ambiente coalizionale.” Partecipazione e conflitto 6(3): 77-90.

Vercesi, Michelangelo. 2016. “Coalition Politics and InterParty Conflict Management: A Theoretical Framework.” Politics Policy 44(2): 168-219.

Vercesi, Michelangelo. 2017. “What Kind of Veto Player Is the Italian Senate? A Comparative Analysis of European Second Chambers.” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 22(5): 604-23.

Vercesi, Michelangelo. 2019. “Il “decision making” dell’esecutivo.” In Il Governo in Italia. Profili costituzionali e dinamiche politiche, edited by Fortunato Musella, 219-41. Bologna: Il Mulino.

Vercesi, Michelangelo. 2020. “Cabinet Decision-Making in Parliamentary Systems.” In The Oxford Handbook of Political Executives, edited by Rudy B. Andeweg, Robert Elgie, Ludger Helms, Juliet Kaarbo and Ferdinand MüllerRommel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

Verzichelli, Luca. 2008. “Portfolio Allocation.” In Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe, edited by Kaare Strøm, Wolfgang C. Müller and Torbjörn Bergman, 237-67. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Verzichelli, Luca, and Maurizio Cotta. 2000. “Italy. From ‘Constrained’ Coalitions to Alternating Governments?” In Coalition Governments in Western Europe, edited by Wolfgang C. Müller and Kaare Strøm, 433-97. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Warwick, Paul V. 1994. Government Survival in Parliamentary Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Warwick, Paul V., and James M. Druckman. 2006). “The Portfolio Allocation Paradox: An Investigation into the Nature of a Very Strong but Puzzling Relationship.” European Journal of Political Research 45(4): 635-65.

Warwick Paul V., and Stephen T. Easton T. 1992. “The Cabinet Stability Controversy: New Perspectives on a Classic Problem.” American Journal of Political Science 36(1): 122-46.

Weller, Patrick. 2003. “Cabinet Government: An Elusive Ideal?” Public Administration 81(4): 701-22.

Zucchini, Francesco. 2013. La repubblica dei veti. Un’analisi spaziale del mutamento legislativo in Italia. Milano: Egea.

Downloads

Published

2019-12-20

How to Cite

Vercesi, M. (2019). Do Populists Govern Differently? The Management of the Italian M5S-League Coalition in Comparative Perspective: Os populistas governam de forma diferente? Perspectivas do caso italiano M5S-League em perspectiva comparativa. Perspectivas - Journal of Political Science, 21, 9-24. https://doi.org/10.21814/perspectivas.2557

Issue

Section

Articles