Italian government negotiations go to overtime

Italian President Sergio Mattarella adresses the media , in Rome, Italy, 13 April 2018. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MEO

Italian government negotiations go to overtime


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Negotiations for the formation of an Italian government have gone into overtime, as the far-right League and the populist 5-Star Movement (M5S) cannot reach an agreement over the name of the future prime minister.

President Sergio Mattarella granted the leaders of the two parties more time, deviating for the second time from deadlines set on last Friday and Monday. The President has not yet set a definite deadline on negotiations.

The far-right nationalist leader Matteo Salvini and the 32-year old leader of the M5S are negotiating on a policy contract, which the two leaders likened to a “German-style” contract between parties.

The two parties agree they will not abide by EU rules on budgetary discipline, a reduction in taxation – VAT, duties on petrol, income tax – the scrapping of a pension reform law (Fornero) and tough policies on restricting migration. They also want to take measures against waste, corruption and the criminalization of tax evasion.

The far-right Eurosceptic Lega weighs heavily on the policy agenda, as polls suggest that a return to the polls in July would benefit Salvini.

The two parties continue to disagree over who should lead the next cabinet, although policy alignment does not seem to present major obstacles.   M5S leader Luigi Di Maio wants the members of his movement to approve the policy contract to be adopted,  should negotiations come to fruition, in a poll to take place next week. The move is not uncommon, as the Social Democrats in Germany also looked to their members to ratify their latest coalition with the Christian Democrats.

The press says the two leaders are considering for a third prime minister – other than Salvini or Di Maio – who would be a political figure. However, names have not as yet leaked to the press; both leaders agreed on Monday not to discuss names publicly.

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