Italian politician urges public to protest against his own government

Luigi Di Maio, of the Five Star Movement, has called upon the general public to protest against his government due to tensions with his party’s coalition master.

Italian politician urges public to protest against his own government
Luigi di Maio. Image: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD/AFP

Currently the Foreign Minister, Di Maio was until recently the leader of the Five Star Movement, which is currently part of a ruling coalition government.

He stepped down as party leader in January, saying he was “exhausted”, though remains in his post as Italy's foreign minister.

He said the people of Italy must peacefully demonstrate against the government, which is made up of the populist M5S and the centre-left Democratic Party. 

The uneasy coalition was formed to prevent new elections which may have led to the election of the far-right Matteo Salvini, however it has been beset by tensions ever since. 

The Five Star Movement has suffered from a drop in support recently, as well as the resignation of several key members of the party. 

Initially founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, the party took one a third of the vote (33 percent) in the March 2018 elections but has seen support decline since then.

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Why Italy’s government is angry about a ski resort changing its name

The world-famous Italian ski resort of Cervinia reverted to its pre-Fascist name of Le Breuil on Thursday, sparking an outcry from members of the nationalist government.

Why Italy's government is angry about a ski resort changing its name

From Thursday, November 30th, the village in Val d’Aosta known worldwide as Cervinia will instead be called Le Breuil.

“Cervinia will not disappear in the collective memory. It is one of the most famous ski resorts in the Alps,” Jean-Antoine Maquignaz, a former mayor who began the process for the recognition of historical names in the region, told the Turin edition of Corriere della Sera.

But, he said, “the culture of the area must be taken into account. And the names must be preserved, as well as their long history.”

Le Breuil was changed to Cervinia by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime in 1934 under a drive to remove all foreign-sounding place names.

READ ALSO: Italy’s culture minister slams foreign words in Italian language… by using foreign words

Many comuni (municipalities) in the Alpine region of Val d’Aosta, which borders France and Switzerland, had their French names replaced with Italian ones.

The process of changing the town’s name back began in 2011, and Valle d’Aosta’s regional president, Renzo Testolin, signed a decree last September which formalised the switch.

But Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy (FdI) party on Thursday issued an angry statement which said the name change was “evidently the result of ideology, out of time and place,” news agency Ansa reported.

The party said ministers would meet with regional authorities to “resolve the problem” in the coming days.

FdI Deputy House Whip Fabio Rampelli said the government must get the name changed back, describing the move as “anti-Italian” and claiming it went against the Constitution.

READ ALSO: ‘Anglomania’: Why Italy’s government wants to restrict use of English words

Tourism minister Daniela Santanchè urged the local council to “think again” saying that the winter tourism industry would be “heavily penalised by dropping a brand name that is known across the world”.

But the 700 or so local residents may have more immediate concerns: the name change is expected to result in a mountain of bureaucracy, as inhabitants will now need to update their identity cards, birth certificates, and land registry data, Corriere reported.