Italy’s leader of the far-right League party, Matteo Salvini, said he is ready to negotiate a grand coalition with the 5-Star Movement on Wednesday, opening up the possibility that a Eurosceptic government could take power in Rome.
The League’s alliance with Silvio Berlusconi‘s Forza Italia and the neo-Fascist Brothers of Italy secured a 37% share of the vote on the March 4 elections, with MS5 emerging as the biggest single party at 32%. In Italy, a party or a coalition needs to secure 40% of the vote to secure a majority to form a government.
Salvini said on Wednesday he would not make uncompromising demands about who will become prime minister, but instead said he will focus on programmatic issues that include a 15% flat tax, as well as further devolution and federalisation. “If we agree on the project, we can start talking,” Salvini told Italy’s public broadcaster ANSA.
Salvini made clear he is not contemplating an alliance with the outgoing centre-left Democratic Party (PD) of acting prime minister Paolo Gentiloni. The PD secured only 20% of the vote and has no apparent political ally in place.
In making the claims, Salvini and the League appear to have secured the mandate of their far-right coalition partner, the Brothers of Italy.
Berlusconi’s spokesman distanced himself from Salvini, Italian daily La Reppublica reported. Forza Italia has not ruled out an alliance with the centre-left, as Berlusconi also appears wary of a possible coalition government with MS5.
MS5 leader Luigi Di Maio is spending time promoting his party as a realistic alternative government and promised on Wednesday that negotiations in Italy would be “faster than Germany”, where it took six months to form a new government. Signalling a change in tone, Di Maio said he was willing to maintain the government deficit of below the 3% of GDP threshold, looking to initially save money by reviewing the current budget.