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Italian Populists Launch Coalition To 'Pierce Brussels Through The Heart'

basil_hallwardMay 14, 2018, 9:10:56 PM

Comedian Beppe Grillo - founder of Movement 5 Star (Source:https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/) 

The two Eurosceptic parties that made the biggest gains in March's Italian election, populist Five-Star Movement (M5S) and the anti-mass migration League (Lega) have reached a compromise over their main policy differences and are ready to propose a prime minister and a programme of government to the Italian president according to Italian news reports (example - il giornale)

Five Star is an amazing success story having only been founded eight years ago by eurosceptic comedian Beppe Grillo, to oppose the push to incorporate Europes sovereign nations into a federal European superstate controlled by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, and to fight the coruption and patronage endemic in Italian politics. M5S was by far the biggest individual winner in the recent elections, securing 32 per cent of the vote.

Lega, formerly a regional party committed to securing autonomy for Italy’s industrialised north north but recently took its anti-mass migration message nationwide, with a program in some ways similar to M5S but with a greater emphasis on traditional values. Following the onset of the migrant crisis Lega gained strength rapidly and was the election’s other big winner, coming in first place among a right-wing coalition which collectively secured 37 per cent of the vote.

Both parties are anti-establishment and opposed to mass migration, but there are important differences in approach and style between the two, raising questions over whether a coalition programme could be agreed.

However, their differences appear to have been surmounted, with leaders Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini set to propose a more neutral third-party as prime minister, for the sake of parity in the coalition, and a programme setting aside some of the more radical pet initiatives of the two parties, but following Lega’s harder line on immigration.

Italian economist Giulio Sapelli said that he had been addressed by the right-wing League party, and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) about the possibility of heading the government they are currently seeking to form after the March 4 parliamentary election.

"It's all true. I have been contracted by both political parties and I have said I am totally willing. They explained to me that that they are also assessing another figure, [fellow academic Giuseppe] Conte, and they have not said yet who they have chosen," Sapelli told the Italian Ansa news agency.

The story was later contradicted in a report from Reuters.

M5S leader Luigi Di Maio said earlier on Monday he had found common ground with the League’s leader Matteo Salvini on forming the new government during their recent meeting. Di Maio added that he and Salvini would meet with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on the issue of the new government later on Monday.

The media outlet noted that Mattarella’s meeting with M5S was scheduled for 04:30 p.m. (14:00 GMT), while the president would hold a meeting with the League at 06:00 p.m.