M5S closes the door to the far-right and looks to the left

Leader of Five Stars Movement, Luigi Di Maio (C) at LA7 TV program 'Otto e Mezzo' hosted by journalist Lilli Gruber in Rome, Italy, 16 April 2018. EPA-EFE/Riccardo Antimiani

M5S closes the door to the far-right and looks to the left


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Italy’s Lower House Speaker Roberto Fico continues on Thursday to explore the possibility of a government between the 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the governing Democratic Party (PD).

The mandate given to Fico by President Sergio Mattarella on Monday has a good chance of fruition. Following the failure of Senate Speaker Maria Elisabetta Casellati of Forza Italia to broker an agreement between the right-wing alliance and M5S, the alternative for Luigi De Maio is a return to the polls.

On Tuesday Luigi Di Maio made clear that the deadline he had set to the leader of the far-right Matteo Salvini has elapsed and he is no longer exploring an alliance with the far-right Lega. Salvini “condemned himself to irrelevance,” Di Maio said.

The centre-left PD has led the last three Italian governments and has implemented a number of fiscal consolidation measures that have eroded its traditional constituency. M5S largely came to power by vilifying PD and Forza Italia, which they framed as part of the same “Ancien Régime.” However, PD’s interim leader Maurizio Martina – following Matteo Renzi’s resignation – has opened the door to the centre-left staying on as a junior coalition partner on the basis of a “programmatic deal.”

Di Maio apparently is willing to talk despite “profound differences.”

Matteo Renzi and a large section of grassroots members oppose the prospect of remaining in office as a junior coalition partner of M5S. Martina circumvented the prospect of a confrontation by saying that nay agreement would have to be approved by the party’s “directorate.”

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