Italy’s Democratic Party mulls coalition talks with populist Five Star Movement

Italy’s Democratic Party mulls coalition talks with populist Five Star Movement

Leaders of Italy’s Democratic Party will meet today to decide whether to enter coalition talks with the populist Five Star

Italian politics

Photo: Marco Longari/AFP/Getty

Leaders of Italy’s Democratic Party will meet today to decide whether to enter coalition talks with the populist Five Star Movement (M5S).

Italian politics has been in a state of limbo since general elections held in early March gave major victories to the centre-right and M5S, with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) coming a distant third.

Given PD’s heavy losses, the party could agree to coalition talks with the M5S out of desperation to be included in the new government, but only if the populists agree to promise not to enter into future coalition talks with the centre-right. M5S has repeatedly said they refuse to form a government with the existing centre-right block because of its inclusion of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party—a symbol of the “establishment” that the movement was founded to fight. However, M5S leadership has indicated that it is more interested in new elections than continuing talks, as it has judged that coalition negotiations are going nowhere. Therefore, it is unlikely M5S will agree to go forward with PD coalition talks.

It is becoming clear that given the electoral victories of centre-right and M5S, Italy is moving towards a future government very likely to include either or both of the two blocks. This could include the realisation of long-sought M5S goals such as repealing 400 “establishment” laws and a universal basic income; or centre-right plans for tax cuts on cars, homes, businesses, and inheritance as well as more restrictive immigration laws.

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