Italy’s Populist party, Five Star and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) have agreed to form a coalition after meeting with the President on Wednesday.
The PD’s Nicola Zingaretti commented “We consider it worthwhile to try this experience” and added that “In difficult times like these, shunning our responsibility to have the courage to try this is something we cannot afford”
The meetings come after the shock resignation of the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte last week, however it has been agreed that with the new Coalition, Mr Conte will continue in his role commenting that now was the time to “turn a crisis into an opportunity”. Originally Mr Conte resigned after Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Nationalist League Party in Italy and former Interior Minister, held a vote of no-confidence against him.
Mr Salvini had been part of the previous coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Party for 14 months before disputes began to arise. Analysis of the situation suggests that this maybe a major blow to Salvini. Last week’s government collapse was seen by Salvini to be the perfect opportunity to hold and win a potential snap election, especially after the League’s success in May. However, this new coalition has been reported to hold the aim of keeping Salvini and his far-right out of Italian politics. In recent months popularity had grown for the League due to their anti-immigration stance, however since the collapse of the coalition their popularity has fallen once again.
Due to the League’s previous involvement in the last coalition and their success in the recent EU Elections, there have been fears of Italy’s future within the EU. With this new coalition, Conte has stated that Italy must return to be a “protaganist” within the bloc.
What now for the new coalition?
In recent years, Italy has had issues with its spending plans, leading to tension between itself and the EU. The coalition’s first task will be to write out a budget plan for 2020 and halt an increase in VAT. The first draft is to due by the end of September with aims to “reinforce social cohesion” both within Italy and with EU leaders. Already, despite disputes with the EU over Italy’s 2019 budget and the country’s ongoing public debt, Conte has previously managed to dodge sanctions from the intergovernmental body.
The two parties are still yet to draft a programme and form a cabinet, however there are worries that the coalition may be threatened by the leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) Luigi Di Maio after the PD insisted that he step down at Deputy Prime Minister in return for them accepting Conte as Prime Minster. It is still unclear what challenges this may bring alongside another potential threat to the coalition reported by the Guardian, which is MS5’s plan to consult it’s members on agreements made with the PD using the platform Rousseau. Plans to follow along with member voting intentions may provoke difficulty in finding agreement between the two parties on different issues. However, it is unclear how many subscribers the platform currently has and how big an impact this will create.
If the current new coalition lasts, there will be no further General Election in Italy until 2023.