Italy closer to repeat elections

Italian President Sergio Mattarella adresses the media at the end of the second round of formal political consultations following the general elections, in Rome, Italy, 13 April 2018. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MEO

Italy closer to repeat elections


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Italy is heading towards repeat elections, as negotiations between the 5-Star Movement (MS5), the centre-left PD and the far-right Lega have failed.

On Monday the leader of the movement Luigi Di Maio called for snap elections in June, or “as soon as possible.” He challenged the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, to terminate negotiations leading the country to the polls.

Salvini has been unable to convince his long-held ally Silvio Berlusconi to join such an alliance or Di Maio to accept that Lega remains loyal to its political alliance.

Following the resignation of Matteo Renzi following the worst electoral performance of PD in its history, the caretaking leader Maurizio Martina has engaged in negotiations for the formation of a government. Last week the scenario of an MS5-PD alliance appeared possible, even likely.

However, Renzi appears to be undermining the prospect of a coalition government, advocating that it would be best for PD to remain in opposition. Challenging Martina’s mandate on Sunday, Renzi said that it was one thing to talk and quite another to provide a vote of confidence for a Di Maio government. In turn, a number of high ranking members of PD are criticising Renzi for refusing to withdraw from strategic decision-making in PD.

Since elections on March 4, Italy is entrapped in a political deadlock, with a three-way split between the right-wing alliance, MS5, and the left. While the Italian economy is resurging, with unemployment falling to a 10-year low, the cost of sovereign borrowing is surging for the country with the biggest debt in the Eurozone – in absolute terms – and the second debt-to-GDP ratio (roughly 130%).

President Sergio Mattarella wants to avoid a return to the polls. Currently, the only scenario that has not been explored is an alliance that would circumvent MS5 joining the right wing alliance with the centre-left.

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