Italy’s most popular politician appears to have made a huge mistake.
Matteo Salvini, the country’s hardline interior minister, brought down his far-right League’s government with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement on Tuesday, hoping to trigger early elections that polls suggest his party would win.
Italy’s populist Five Star Movement and (formerly Northern) League have finalized a coalition agreement.
Among their policies are:
Reducing personal and business taxes to two rates: 15 and 20 percent.
A €780 monthly basic income for poor families.
Repealing 2011 pension reforms that raised the retirement age and made the system financially sustainable.
Withdrawal of EU sanctions on Moscow.
Speeding up the deportation of around 500,000 immigrants.
The final version of the text does not call for a pathway for countries to leave the euro, nor does it call on the European Central Bank to cancel €250 billion in Italian debt. These proposals had been in leaked drafts.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League, has ruled out reneging on a right-wing pact and asked Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of the mainstream conservatives, to do the same.
Both parties get around 15 percent support in recent surveys. In combination with smaller right-wing parties, they might just reach the 40 percent needed to form a government.
If they fall short, Salvini could theoretically team up with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is polling at 26-28 percent.
Salvini and the Five Stars share views on Europe and political reform, but they come at it from opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Italy’s Northern League would rather go into coalition with the populist Five Star Movement than the mainstream center-left, its leader, Matteo Salvini, has said.
Speaking in Palermo on Monday, the conservative lamented that the Five Stars are “showing their incompetence where they govern.”
But, he added, “if I were to call someone, I wouldn’t call Renzi or Alfano” — referring to Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi and Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the leader of the small center-right Popular Alternative.
Italy’s two largest right-wing parties have agreed that whichever one of them receives the most votes in the upcoming election will provide the prime minister in a future coalition government.
The separatist Northern League is currently outpolling former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s once-dominant Forza Italia. Together with the national-conservative Brothers of Italy, they would win around a third of the seats in parliament.