Paolo Gentiloni, who may now have to step down since his Democratic party got only 18.7 per cent of the vote in the Italian elections, is the fourth Italian prime minister in a row not to have been chosen by the electorate. Voters have shown a repeated disinclination to support the candidate of Brussels, so Brussels has found ways of imposing one. Italy has not had the prime minister of its choice since Silvio Berlusconi was brought down, with the support of EU leaders, in 2011. After the latest result, when that 18.7 per cent represents the only uncritically pro-EU section of voter opinion, Brussels is in a quandary. Try to sustain Mr Gentiloni in some awkward coalition, or suborn one of the other party leaders? I strongly suspect Gigi di Maio, the dapper young leader of the Five Star Movement, of being the EU’s best target. Like Alexis Tsipras in Greece, he could be the anti-Brussels man who then collaborates. He has the air of wanting to be Italy’s Emmanuel Macron. He must have much less chance than Macron, however. Italy has had too many years of hurt.
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Notes, in this week’s Spectator