Five-star movement agreement: Italy gets a left government

The alliance between the two parties, until a few weeks ago sworn enemies, is mainly made to keep right-wing nationalist Matteo Salvini from taking power. His Lega party would almost certainly be the largest in new elections.

Although the PD and the Five Star Movement already reached agreement last week, the latter party first wanted to ask its members for permission. The Five Star Movement, supporters of a democracy that is as direct as possible, does that often. Recently there were online voting about the program for the European elections, what to do with the boat refugees on board the Diciotti and the maximum number of terms for five-star politicians. The current party chairman, Luigi Di Maio, was also voted into the Italian parliament in 2013 thanks to an online vote. He then received 189 votes.

Because of the usually low number of participants, the vote on Tuesday was also viewed with suspicion. Suddenly it was up to a few thousand Five-Star members to decide via a low-transparent website whether or not there would be new elections in Italy. After all, President Sergio Mattarella, who has had enough of the weeks-long government crisis in Italy, had already announced that a new election would be held with a no vote before the vote.

It turned out not to be necessary, because according to the Five Star Movement, 79 percent of their own members agreed with the pre-imposed party line, and therefore before a coalition with the PD. Upcoming Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will therefore go to President Mattarella with a list of possible ministers on Wednesday, after which the new cabinet will probably be sworn in on Thursday.

Although the financial markets reacted positively on Tuesday to the news that Matteo Salvini has now been definitively sentenced to the opposition, the new 26-point coalition agreement in Brussels will not immediately have been received with cheers. Although the government promises to spend Conte-II much less money than Conte-I, this time too it is black and white that the EU must relax the “excessive rigidity” of its own fiscal rules for Italy.

To stimulate the economy, the new Italian government wants to invest more in education and healthcare, among other things. There must also be a special public bank that can provide the economically disadvantaged south of Italy with extra financial incentives. These expenses will be partly funded by an increased tax for multinationals.

However, the question remains how many of these intentions will actually make it law. The plans of the Conte-I government remained largely unfulfilled because the coalition collapsed after fourteen months, and there are also doubts about the stability of Conte-II. Members of the Five Star Movement and the PD were not only sworn enemies until recently, but also during the last coalition negotiations, the flame steadily flared up. Last week Di Maio threatened to pull the plug again if he could not become vice-prime minister. He only withdrew that threat when he was publicly convicted by party founder Beppe Grillo, who said he was getting “exhausted” from all the arguments. Party leader Nicola Zingaretti of the PD agreed with Grillo. He said that the time has really come to “respect each other.”

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