Global Daily – Italy political limbo continues

by: Aline Schuiling

Euro Politics: Still little progress in solving Italy’s political deadlock – Almost seven weeks after Italy’s general election, hardly any progress has been made in forming a new government. President Mattarella has held two rounds of official consultations with all the main parties involved, but with no result. A couple of things have become clear, though. To begin with, the biggest single party after the election the Five Star Movement (M5S) strongly rejects the idea of being in government with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italy (FI). However, the M5S would be in favour of being in a government with the anti-establishment Eurosceptic Lega Nord (LN), which currently is in a centre-right coalition with FI. To complicate matters, LN’s leader Matteo Salvini refuses to break away from FI. Next, it has become clear that the official party line of the Democratic Party (PD) is that it will not join the next government and stay in opposition, but that some important members of the PD disagree and would favour entering a government with M5S. Indeed, the party programmes of M5S and PD vary on a number of important issues, but nevertheless seem to have more elements in common than the programmes of M5S and LN.

After the official consultation rounds, president Mattarella has asked the speaker of the Senate Elisabetta Casellati (member of FI and close ally of Berlusconi) to seriously look into the possibility of forming a government of M5S and the centre-right coalition. Ms Casellati has until Friday 20 April to present her results.

Considering all the options, we still think that the most likely outcome will be either a centre-left combination of M5S and (parts of) the PD and other smaller centre-left parties, or a broad coalition of right and left, which would amount to a technocrat government with a very narrow policy agenda and perhaps for a short time period. In any case, forming a fully populist government of only M5S and LN, seems very difficult at this point as there are large obstacles. The programmes of the parties would make it difficult to reach agreement, while LN would need to break away from the existing right-wing coalition. (Aline Schuiling)