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In Italy, the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Northern League (LN) formed a coalition government after the legislative elections of March 2018. What has been the actual impact of the populist executive in the Italian foreign policy? Relying on the (few) existing analyses that have developed specific hypotheses on the expected international repercussions of populist parties-ruled governments, the paper examines Italy’s foreign policy under the Italian “Yellow–Green” cabinet (June 2018–August 2019). The manuscript advances three hypotheses. First, the foreign policy of the Conte’s government has been featured by a personalistic and a centralized decision-making process. Second, the Yellow-Green executive has adopted a vocal confrontational stance on the world stage, especially within multilateral frameworks, to “take back control” over national sovereignty. Third, such sovereignist foreign policy was largely symbolic because of “strategic” populist attitudes toward public opinion and due to domestic and international constraints. The manuscript—which is based on secondary and primary sources, such as interviews with former ministers, MPs, and diplomats—aims at offering a new perspective on populist parties and foreign policy, alimenting the rising debate on foreign policy change.
Coticchia, F. (2021). A sovereignist revolution? Italy’s foreign policy under the “Yellow–Green” government. Comparative European Politics, 19(6), 739–759. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41295-021-00259-0