‘Marriage of convenience' as SVP ditch left for League

BOLZANO – A 25-year partnership between the South Tyrol People’s Party (SVP) and the centre-left has come to an end after party leadership gave the all clear to enter into discussions with Matteo Salvini’s League over the formation of Alto Adige’s next government, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported on Tuesday.

 Leader of the party Arno Kompatscher was reportedly the driving force behind the shift in alliance, brought on by the decline of the SVP, and simultaneous growth of the Northern League, in October elections. Kompatscher stressed, however, that “this is not a marriage of love,” after 65 of the party’s 83 representatives voted in favour of the move.

 Purely a pragmatic, politically driven decision, the partnership with the League has raised concerns within the SVP, which must be ironed out in negotiations. Il Fatto reports that the League will be asked to pledge to maintain Italy’s links with the European Union and ensure the protection of both linguistic minorities, of which there are many in the Alto-Adige region, and the marginalised.

 The rift with the centre-left can be traced back to the election, thanks to votes from the South Tyrol region, of Democratic Party member Maria Elena Boschi in March. Since this appointment, the DP has lost support in the region, as has the SVP, while the Northern League has made strides forward. In the most recent October elections, the number of SVP councillors was reduced to 15, while the League gained votes, giving them four seats in the province. Salvini’s party has also already taken control of the Trento province and has the largest representation on the regional council.