Italian Tragedy: The Contemporary Government Crisis in Three Acts

A handout photo made available by Chigi Palace Press Office

Prologue

In this land, a word is often used in situations where a political class preserves a status quo while pretending to change it. Italians call it ‘leopardism’ after The Leopard, a novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. It’s an illusion of change when everything stays the same. The result is a reinvention or rehabilitation process, like a ‘revolving door’ in the waiting room of the Italian political class.

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The Italian style: Giuseppe Conte’s ‘half-populist’ leadership during Covid-19

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Italian PM Giuseppe Conte at the European Parliament. Credit: European Parliament (CC BY 2.0)

Article appeared in the EUROPP – European Politics and Policy – LSE Blog, June 8th, 2020

From the starting position of a political outsider, Italy’s PM Giuseppe Contehas carved a widely positive image for himself, gaining widespread popularity during the Covid-19 crisis. Marino De Luca argues that Conte’s savvy use of communication channels during a time of national emergency, combined with his personality, have helped him project an image of political competence, empathy, and reassurance. 

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