Silvio Berlusconi. Photo: Lorenzo Pierini. License: CC BY 2.0
Berlusconi reportedly ready to cooperate with M5S
According to the Italian daily La Repubblica, Silvio Berlusconi is reportedly ready to support a government consisting of politicians from his center-right alliance and the Five Star Movement (M5S). This is what the Forza Italia leader is said to have revealed to the heads of his alliance partners Lega and Fratelli d’Italia on Tuesday and Wednesday. The prerequisite is that the program of a joint government be limited to points on which Berlusconi believes the two camps could agree: In addition to migration and security policy, he also includes the areas of the economy and employment.
This news comes as a surprise, since the 81-year-old had treated the M5S as a major opponent in the election campaign, warning that it was a greater threat to Italy than communism. The fact that he is now changing his mind could not have been Repubblica According to him, this is because he wants to blame the movement founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo for the failure to form a government.
“Most furrowed by the markets”
Another possible explanation is given by the Financial Times. She suspects that the former prime minister wants to prevent the election winners M5S and Lega from joining forces and leaving his Forza out in front, because the parliamentary seats would be enough for them to win a majority even without the center-right alliance partners (cf. Italy: Everyone wants to govern with the Social Democrats).
Such a coalition will give the Financial Times according to “most feared by the markets”. The reason for this is that the M5S and the Lega have something in common, not only in terms of government spending, but also in their attitude toward Brussels. On 14. March, Lega leader Matteo Salvini had announced the “kulturellen Unterschiede”, The differences between the Lega, which was victorious mainly in the north, and the M5S, which was victorious mainly in the south, did not mean that they could not agree on the content. In addition to fighting illegal immigration, the Lega leader mentioned more federalism, the introduction of a flat tax and the withdrawal of the pension reform (obtained under prere from Brussels).
Withdrawal of stability regulations
At a press conference in Strasbourg the day before, he had announced that EU policy had stolen the Italians’ right to hope and to a future. But now the citizens had decided with their vote that they want these rights back. That is why, in the event of a takeover of the government, his party would like to “courteous and responsible” negotiate with Brussels on a withdrawal of stability rules that had severely harmed Italians.
In the event that the EU does not agree, experts have been asked to prepare an amendment to Article 75 of the Italian Constitution, which in its current form does not allow referendums on international treaties. Then the Italian people will be able to decide whether to accept what Salvini calls a “wrong decision” euro adoption revised. With such a referendum had formerly advertised the M5S. Your current “Capo” Luigi Di Maio, however, rejects a referendum on the euro (cf. Salvini threatens Brussel with exit from the euro).
Rule with the M5S or swallow Forza?
Allegedly, Di Maio and Salvini have already agreed, before Berlusconi’s intervention, to vote for M5S candidate Roberto Fico in the Chamber of Deputies and for a Lega politician in the Senate in the upcoming election of parliamentary presidents. Whether that still holds true now will be seen on Friday. The start of official government formation negotiations is not expected until after Easter.
Not all Lega politicians are open to a two-party coalition with the M5S: Tuscan deputy Guglielmo Picchi, for example, announced that they would not abandon the center-right alliance after taking the lead there. He was alluding to the fact that, contrary to the firm expectations of Silvio Berlusconi and almost all the media, his party did better with a 17 percent share of the vote than Forza Italia, which only got 14 percent.
Some Lega politicians therefore hope that the process of concentration will continue in the event of new elections and that their party could more or less take over Berlusconi’s if Salvini resists the temptation to form a government.