Silvio Berlusconi’s far-right allies – the Northern League – made clear Wednesday that the party will demand Italy’s exit from the eurozone.
Northern League leader Matteo Salvini has doubled-down on his intention to pull Italy out of the eurozone, a currency the far-right leader has in the past called a “German mark.” and “a mistake for our (Italy’s) economy.”
The anti-immigration and Eurosceptic Northern League is polling at 14 percent, almost on par with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. The agreement between the two parties is that the alliance member with the larger share of the popular vote will nominate Italy’s next prime minister.
Due to his conviction for tax fraud in 2014, the 81-year-old Berlusconi cannot name himself as the country’s new head of state.
As Italy heads to the polls on March 4, the left-wing populist Five Star Movement (MS5) has softened its traditional hostility to the euro and the EU, joining the ruling centre-left Democratic Party in its call for a renegotiation of the fiscal compact.
Similarly, Berlusconi has talked about the need for a dual currency that would see Italy retain the euro for international transactions.
Italy is the third largest economy in the EU but has the biggest debt in absolute terms. With just over a 133 percent debt-to-GDP ratio, Italy has been forced to pursue a policy of fiscal consolidation that comes with a significant political cost.