Italy′s M5S unveils coalition program with far-right League | News | DW | 18.05.2018
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Italy's M5S unveils coalition program with far-right League

The parties that won the most votes in Italy's elections have set forth the fundamentals for their coalition pact. Members of the 5-Star Movement and the League will vote on the terms of the deal over the weekend.

On Friday, the 5-Star Moment (M5S) and League agreed together to ramp up spending in a coalition government that, after 11 weeks of political stalemate, could be ready for rollout by Monday should the parties' supporters approve the pact in informal voting over the weekend.

Though some of the more radical-sounding proposals were omitted, the potential of a euroskeptic government could put Italy on a political collision course with the EU.

The deal

  • The parties agreed to monthly universal basic income-type disbursements of at least €780 ($920) for Italians living under the poverty line.
  • Taxes on individual incomes would max out at 15 percent; businesses would pay a top rate of 20 percent.
  • The final version of the document fell short of calling for Italy's exit from the eurozone — a prospect that both the M5S and the League had campaigned on.

'You like it?'

"Today we have finally concluded the 'Contract for the Government of Change,'" Luigi Di Maio, the leader of the nominally anti-establishment M5S, wrote Friday on Facebook. "I'm very happy. These have been 70 very intense days."

In the agreement, the parties pledged that "the government's actions will target a program of public debt reduction not through revenue based on taxes and austerity, policies that have not achieved their goal, but rather through increased GDP by the revival of internal demand."

"Days and nights of work ..." Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League, whose "Italians First" slogan aped the catchphrase of Donald Trump's 2016 US presidential campaign, wrote on Twitter Friday, adding a link to the coalition agreement. "Do you like it?"

Dangerous or ineffective? Some commentators fear that the alliance could bring about another extremist government in a country ruled by dominating figures from Benito Mussolini to Silvio Berlusconi — but others say the coalition's plans are more likely to leave the regime bankrupt.

The parties: Founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, the M5S billed itself as an umbrella party for malcontents, including euroskeptics and xenophobes — making an alliance with the League, which now and again strategically sided with right-wing former Prime Minister Berlusconi, an easy choice.

Now what? The rank-and-file members of the M5S and League will hold separate votes on the terms of the coalition over the weekend; party leaders say they will not proceed without approval, but approval is expected.

mkg/rt (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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