NEWS » Italy's Elections Updates

Italy's Elections Updates

Almost three months have passed since the inconclusive elections which left Italy without a clear majority. Five Star Movement and the Northern League, the two parties which gained more than 50% of the vote between them in the elections on 4 March, have finally reached an agreement. 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio and League leader Matteo Salvini completed their review of the programme drawn up by party officials, which will be presented to President Sergio Mattarella. 

The joint programme makes no mention of the parties’ stance on the EU or the euro, leaving the situation ambiguous. Apparently, Italy’s EU membership is not at stake but the anti-immigration party, Northern League, the right-wing populist party mostly concentrated in the north of Italy with a record of anti-immigrant politics, said it wants to leave the eurozone as soon as possible. The Five Star Movement’s politics is more ambiguous. The party was traditionally a strong EU membership opponent, but before the elections, changed its view in favour of staying in the EU. M5S leader Luigi Di Maio and League leader Matteo Salvini have already made it clear that they feel no need to respect European commitments in the implementation of their programme.

Indeed, the joint programme for a coalition government pledges to roll back austerity measures, repatriate migrants and undertake a collision course with Brussels.

The new government has plans for tax and spending that pose a challenge to the way the eurozone has been run so far. These involve a new citizens’ income, increased pensions and lower taxes.

The main concern raised by the programme is about Italy's €2.3 trillion of debt, which is 132 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and represents the highest ratio anywhere in Europe apart from Greece.

It was estimated that the main proposals in the programme: basic income, drastic reduction of income tax and pension reform will cost €100 billion per year. This, in 2019, would increase the country's deficit/GDP ratio, to 5.5 percent compared to the current 1.3.

Concerns have been shown also by the EU and the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, who over the weekend underlined his ability to block laws that are unconstitutional.

Five stars and League are willing to bet on growth to reboot Italian economy. 

Di Maio assured that Italy will respect the European Union’s budget deficit limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product. This is in line with the threshold set by the Stability Pact, but very far from the previous commitments of the Italian government.  

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