Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Italian president moots 'neutral' government as crisis lingers

Luigi Di Maio leader of the 5 Star Movement dismissed the president's proposal for a Italy's populists could seize power in snap elections
Deanna Wagner | 11 May, 2018, 04:03

Two months after Italy's inconclusive general elections, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and conservative Northern League are nearing an agreement for a governing majority.

A fresh wave of political uncertainty in Italy sent its stocks and bonds sliding after a doomed attempt to break the country's political deadlock in effect fired the starting pistol on a second election of the year.

However parliamentary approval for the government proposed by looks unlikely, as the leaders of Italy's largest party, the (M5S), and a right-wing coalition led by the nationalist League, which won the most votes in March polls, have both insisted on July elections.

"That means we would see a run-off between the League and the 5-Star Movement, which could result in a clearer victor and an end to the political deadlock".

Piccoli added that the current impasse could increase support for the populist parties.

The 5Stars had asked the League to ditch their center-right alliance with Berlusconi's Forza Italia as a condition of forming a coalition, arguing the media mogul represents the political establishment they were founded to fight against.

A source close to 5-Star said he believed they might need "a few more days" to find an accord. "A government of service". If Italy opts for a caretaker government then this would be formed by policy experts appointed by the president and they would not be able to run in the next election to ensure impartiality.

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The president, who is the only one with the power to dissolve parliament, could put off the vote until the autumn, the time to put in place a new electoral law, but this could jeopardise a vote on the country's budget by the end of the year.

"[We have] No faith in a "neutral" government, which is synonymous with a government of technocrats".

"In this case we certainly can't give a confidence vote, but we will evaluate in a serene and unprejudiced way the operation of a government that might come about", he said.

"It's crucial that the vote of the people is respected".

"Both the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League (Lega) have said they will not support a technocratic government and called for early elections in July".

And on Wednesday, the Five Star Movement leader finally agreed he would stop imposing any vetos on Mr Salvini over Mr Berlusconi's position in a potential future post-election coalition.

Acting leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) Maurizio Martina praised Mattarella's plan: "We hope that it's heard by all political forces".