Linda Basile https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2842-1264 Rossella Borri


Coalition governments are sometimes made up of parties with sharply differing priorities and policy preferences. This is the case of Italy’s governing alliance between the Lega and the Five Star Movement, hailed by the media as populist. Relying upon pledges of change, and seemingly united by the sovereigntist claim to ‘take back control’, this unprecedented coalition has been called upon to address the promises to upend ‘the system’. Whether this would be a doable task for the government or would, rather, turn into a likely loss of votes for the two parties, however, will largely depend on the extent to which the ideas of ‘desired change’ of the two different electorates might actually converge. On examining survey data, we find that M5S and Lega voters are likely to share anti-establishment, conspiracy rhetoric and sovereigntist attitudes, but have diverging views on domestic economic policies, migration, and cultural issues. These findings provide empirical grounds to advance, in the concluding remarks, some tentative scenarios for the likely developments of a governing coalition between different allies, whose direction would ultimately hinge upon the strategic options available to them.