Skip to Content

Salvini; Beppe Grillo, founder of M5S. Photo supplied

Italy inching towards forming new government

Leader of Italy's 5-Star Movement (M5S), Luigi Di Maio said that a fresh meeting with League chief Matteo Salvini on the formation of a new government went well on Friday.

Published: May 14, 2018, 8:34 am

    Read more

    “We are finding other areas of agreement, the meeting was positive,” Di Maio said. “We are making notable steps forward with the government programme, we are finding broad agreement on a basic income, flat tax, (scrapping) the (2011) Fornero (pension) law, the issue of fighting the business of immigration, and on conflict of interest”.

    Di Maio and Salvini are reportedly seeking to identify a “third premier” – a figure that is not one of the two – who could head the executive.

    President Sergio Mattarella has given political parties 24 hours to try to reach a deal on a new government before he appoints a caretaker cabinet.

    But the M5S head said that “we didn’t talk about the name of the premier” on Friday. Former Fiat manager, career diplomat, ex national intelligence chief and current Fincantieri shipbuilder head Giampiero Massolo has meanwhile been touted and the M5S was reportedly not against appointing Italy’s former top spy.

    “Let’s hope we get a deal as soon as possible, because if we don’t we’ll go back to the polls,” Di Maio added.

    Di Maio also confirmed that an eventual deal would be put to an online vote of M5S members. He said the online vote would ensure that “a good contract” is forged. “I guarantee that we will do a good job to satisfy what Italians expect from a government of this scope,” he said. He added that the leaders would meet again in Milan on Saturday as part of a drive to get to “the signing of a contract of a government of change”.

    The League and the M5S may present the name of this “third premier” to President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday.

    If the plan works out, the president could give a mandate to form a government on Monday and the new cabinet could be sworn in by the end of next week. “There will be less than 20 (ministers),” said Vincenzo Spadafora, who has been put in charge of handling institutional relations by the M5S.

    Former premier, Silvio Berlusconi, had pinned his hopes on being kingmaker. On Friday, he said Salvini “did not betray” the centre-right alliance with his Forza Italia (FI) by entering into government talks with M5S.

    The M5S line is that an eventual M5S-League government must not push too far with the European Union over the issue of Italy’s budget deficit, sources said. There is an agreement with the League’s representatives on this front, the sources told Italian news agency ANSA.

    The initial aim is to respect the deficit targets the EU has set Italy and not go over 1.5 percent, according to the sources. If it is necessary to go above, this will be discussed with the EU.

    By endorsing European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, Berlusconi had sent a calming message to EU allies and financial markets that he would not be hostile to the European Union.

    But Roberto D’Agostino, the owner and editor of Dagospia, Italy’s most controversial online publication, said Berlusconi has “lost his capacity to see and feel the country, the one gift that enabled him to remain in power for over two decades despite the numerous scandals he got involved in”.

    Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that a tribunal has meanwhile overturned a ban on Berlusconi’s running for office again after reviewing a request from his lawyers. The court in Milan lifted the ban more than a year early, citing Berlusconi’s “good conduct”.

    In October 2012, the media mogul was found guilty of committing tax fraud, and Italy’s highest criminal court had previously upheld his conviction forcing him to surrender his Senate seat, preventing him from being a candidate in national elections.

    During the March election campaign, Berlusconi hugged conservative politician Attilio Fontana soon after Fontana stated that “the white race” should be defended “as an ethnic reality”. The move boosted his support.

    According to data from the Italian interior ministry however, the League won nearly 18 percent of the vote, compared to 14 percent for Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.

    “Since it was a race, the winner is [League leader Matteo] Salvini. He succeeded in bringing his party from 4 to 18 [percent], he did a great political job and turned a regional party into a national one,” said Denis Verdini, a long-time ally of Berlusconi and seasoned lawmaker. He added that the League managed to win regions historically loyal to Forza Italia thanks to their hard stance against immigration.

    Roberto D’Alimonte, political science professor at Rome’s LUISS University conducted a survey in February which revealed that the dynamic between Forza Italia and Salvini’s party was changing.

    “There was a growing tendency towards the League,” D’Alimonte noted.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Marine rips into Macron’s failed policies in live interview

    ParisMarine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, was a guest on the political talk show on French television where she ripped into unpopular President Macron's failing policies.

    Scandal shakes German refugee authority: Cash for asylum

    More than 25 000 asylum cases will have to be re-processed after Germany's Federal Office for Refugees and Migration (BAMF) became mired in a corruption scandal at its regional office in the northern city of Bremen.

    Britain’s claims about Skripal affair ‘precarious’ says German media

    BerlinGerman intelligence already had a sample of the nerve agent used to poison the Skripals in the United Kingdom at least two decades ago. And so did the US and Britain.

    Crisis brewing in ‘parking lot for migrants’

    Some 120 000 migrants are currently heading towards Croatia, en route to enter the European Union via the popular Western Balkan route. Croatian police have been put on alert.

    US newspaper urges Ukraine to bomb Kerch Strait bridge

    As Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the Kerch Strait Bridge connecting Crimea with mainland Russia on Tuesday, an opinion piece in an American newspaper urged Ukraine to bomb the bridge.

    Large EU firms are pulling out of Iran

    Major European firms have started to pull out of Iran to avoid being hit by harsh US sanctions despite tough talk by EU leaders.

    Leaked Italian manifesto suggest lifting of anti-Russian sanctions

    RomeIn a leaked manifesto, entitled Government for Change, calls for sanctions against Russia to be scrapped in Italy have been revealed. If this happens, Germany and France, could soon follow suit.

    Hungary and Poland stand firm against EU’s immigration plans

    WarsawAt the beginning of this month, 58 European and African countries gathered in Morocco in Marrakech to discuss issues such as migration and development. The EU plans to support immigration to Europe, not to stop it.

    UK National Security Advisor tears up the Magna Carta

    The UK National Security Advisor, Sir Mark Sedwill was asked by a Whitehall panel about the evidence available implicating Russia in the Skripal affair recently. The Q&A took place after Sir Mark’s speech to the Defence Committee of the UK parliament and provided much insight into how Britain functions today.

    ‘Ukraine is turning into a territory where nothing works’

    Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma warned that Ukraine was rapidly becoming a lawlessness territory "where nothing works". But could that be impacting South Africa?

    Go to archive