Political Fight Over Two Dead Women Drives Italian Election Rift

(Bloomberg) -- Two grisly killings are sharpening the divide over immigration less than three weeks before Italy goes to the polls. 

The Northern League’s Matteo Salvini unleashed a stream of tweets blaming the center-left government for the murder of a woman in Macerata in central Italy, for which three Nigerian drug dealers have been arrested. He had nothing to say about another alleged murder by a tram driver in Milan. 

Matteo Renzi, who leads the governing Democratic Party, said on La7 television that he hopes those responsible for both crimes spend their lives in prison, but it showed “a complete lack of responsibility” to link either case to immigration. Renzi is trying to exacerbate the divisions between Salvini and his center-right ally Silvio Berlusconi, who takes a more moderate view on migrants. 

Political Fight Over Two Dead Women Drives Italian Election Rift

Poodles and promises have been an unexpected feature of Berlusconi’s campaign, as the Forza Italia leader takes a softer approach to winning votes from the almost half of Italian households who own pets.

Berlusconi is tying himself in knots over gay marriage. He’s opposed to the law on civil unions but won’t reverse it. He doesn’t want to strip rights from anyone but a family is a man and woman coming together to have children. The state shouldn’t get involved in personal choices anyway but should defend traditional families. Everything clear?

Political Fight Over Two Dead Women Drives Italian Election Rift

The gerontocracy will be taking over if Berlusconi gets his way. John Follain reports that the 81-year-old ex-premier – currently banned from holding public office – is leaning toward proposing his 82-year-old right-hand man Gianni Letta to lead the next government.

Quote of the day:
“Salvini has a vision of Europe that is closer to Le Pen and Berlusconi has a vision that is closer to Merkel. They are together with two totally different visions.” Renzi in interview with La7

Who's tweeting: Renzi posted a 2011 clip of Berlusconi inviting Tunisians to immigrate to Italy – part of an effort to underscore splits in the center-right opposition. Salvini linked to a string of disturbances he blamed on foreigners. Five Star’s Luigi Di Maio took to Facebook Live to describe his campaign bus trip across Italy.

Bob Diamond is optimistic on Italy. Atlas Merchant Capital, the former Barclays CEO’s private equity firm, stepped up as the top investor in a 600 million-euro fund to buy small-business loans. 

So are bond investors.  Allianz Global Investors and Fidelity International are among investors favoring Italian government debt over other European markets.

In case you missed it, Five Star wants to reassure industrialists, the economy is looking up, and Ray Dalio is shorting Italy.

To contact the author of this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at gviscusi@bloomberg.net.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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