2013 general election none of the three main alliances – the
centre-right led by
Silvio Berlusconi, the
centre-left led by
Pier Luigi Bersani and the
Five Star Movement (M5S) led by
Beppe Grillo – won an outright majority in Parliament. After a failed attempt to form a government by Bersani, then-secretary of the
Democratic Party (PD), and
Enrico Letta, Bersani's deputy, received the task of forming a
grand coalition government. The
Letta Cabinet consisted of the PD, Berlusconi's
The People of Freedom (PdL),
Civic Choice (SC), the
Union of the Centre (UdC) and others.
On 16 November 2013, Berlusconi launched a new party,
Forza Italia (FI),
 named after the defunct
Forza Italia party (1994–2009). Additionally, Berlusconi announced that FI would be opposed to Letta's government, causing the split from the PdL/FI of a large group of deputies and senators led by Minister of Interior
Angelino Alfano, who launched the alternative
New Centre-Right (NCD) party and remained loyal to the government.
Following the election of
Matteo Renzi as Secretary of the PD in December 2013, there were persistent tensions culminating in Letta's resignation as Prime Minister in February 2014. Subsequently, Renzi formed a
government based on the same coalition (including the NCD), but in a new fashion.
 The new Prime Minister had a strong mandate from his party and was reinforced by the PD's strong showing in the
2014 European Parliament election
 and the
Sergio Mattarella, a fellow Democrat, as President in 2015. While in power, Renzi implemented several reforms, including a
new electoral law (which would later be declared partially unconstitutional by the
Constitutional Court), a relaxation of labour and employment laws (known as Jobs Act) with the intention of boosting economic growth, a thorough reform of the
public administration, the simplification of the
civil trial, the
recognition of same-sex unions (not marriages) and the abolition of several minor taxes.
As a result of the
Libyan civil war, a major problem faced by Renzi was the high level of illegal
immigration to Italy. During his tenure, there was an increase in the number of immigrants rescued at sea being brought to southern Italian ports, prompting criticism from the M5S, FI and
Lega Nord (LN),
 and causing a loss of popularity for Renzi.
 However, well into 2016
opinion polls registered the PD's strength, as well as the growth of the M5S, the LN and
Brothers of Italy (FdI), FI's decline, SC's virtual disappearance and the replacement of
Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) with the
Italian Left (SI).
In December 2016, a
constitutional reform proposed by Renzi's government and duly approved by Parliament was rejected in a
constitutional referendum (59% to 41%). Under the reform, the Senate would have been composed of 100 members: 95 regional representatives and 5 presidential appointees.
 Following defeat, Renzi stepped down as Prime Minister and was replaced by his Minister of Foreign Affairs
Paolo Gentiloni, another Democrat.
In early 2017, in opposition to Renzi's policies, some left-wing Democrats led by Bersani,
Massimo D'Alema and
Roberto Speranza launched, along with SI splinters, the
Democratic and Progressive Movement (MDP).
 Contextually, the NCD was transformed into
Popular Alternative (AP). In April Renzi was
re-elected secretary of the PD and thus the party's candidate for Prime Minister,
 defeating Minister of Justice
Andrea Orlando and Governor of Apulia
In May 2017,
Matteo Salvini was
re-elected federal secretary of the LN and launched his own bid.
 Under Salvini, the party had emphasised
opposition to immigration and other populist policies.
 In fact, Salvini's aim had been to re-launch the LN as a "national" or, even, "Italian nationalist" party, withering any notion of northern separatism. This focus became particularly evident in December when LN presented its new electoral logo, without the word "Nord".
In September 2017,
Luigi Di Maio was
selected as candidate for Prime Minister and "political head" of the M5S, replacing Grillo.
 However, even in the following months, the populist comedian was accused by critics of continuing to play his role as de facto leader of the party, while an increasingly important, albeit unofficial, role was assumed by
Davide Casaleggio, son of
Gianroberto, a web strategist who founded the M5S along with Grillo in 2009 and died in 2016.
 In January 2018, Grillo separated his own
blog from the movement; his blog was used in the previous years as an
online newspaper of the M5S and the main propaganda tool.
 This event was seen by many as the proof that Grillo was slowly leaving politics.
The autumn registered some major developments to the left of the political spectrum: in November
Forza Europa, the
Italian Radicals and individual liberals launched a joint list named
More Europe (+E), led by the long-time Radical leader
 in December the MDP, SI and
Possible launched a joint list named
Free and Equal (LeU) under the leadership of
President of the
Senate and former anti-mafia prosecutor;
Italian Socialist Party, the
Federation of the Greens,
Civic Area and
Progressive Area formed a list named
Together (I) in support of the PD;
Communist Refoundation Party, the
Italian Communist Party,
social centres, minor parties, local committees, associations and groups launched a far-left joint list named
Power to the People (PaP), under the leadership of
In late December, the centrist post-NCD
Popular Alternative (AP), which had been a key coalition partner for the PD, divided itself among those who wanted to return into the centre-right's fold and those who supported Renzi's coalition. Two groups of AP splinters (one led by
Maurizio Lupi and the other by
Enrico Costa), formed along with
Popular Construction and the
Movement for the Autonomies, a joint list within the centre-right, named
Us with Italy (NcI).
 The list was later enlarged to the
Union of the Centre, the
Union of Democrats for Europe and minor parties.
 The remaining members of AP,
Italy of Values, the
Centrists for Europe,
Solidary Democracy and minor groups joined forces in the pro-PD
Popular Civic List (CP), led by Minister of Health
On 28 December 2017, President
Sergio Mattarella dissolved Parliament and a new general election was called for 4 March 2018.
On 21 February 2018,
Marco Minniti, the
Italian Minister of the Interior, warned "There is a concrete risk of the mafias conditioning electors' free vote".
 Predominately the
Sicilian Mafia have been recently active in Italian election meddling, the
'Ndrangheta organisations have also taken an interest.
In late February, Berlusconi indicated the President of the
Antonio Tajani, as his candidate for the premiership if the centre-right won the general election
 and if Forza Italia received at least the plurality of the votes inside the coalition, condition that did not occur, resulting in a victory of the party led by
Matteo Salvini, the League.