League leader Matteo Salvini on March 14 said he was open to the prospect of discussing the formation of a new government with 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio.
“I don’t care who wins: we have a programme and whoever comes into government with us must commit to cancelling the Fornero [pension] law, cut taxes to 15%, and make Italy more federal and less bureaucratic,” said Salvini. “If there are other suggestions starting from this premise we are quite happy to accept them. On the names and roles there are now a priori prejudices, I’m interested in the project: if we agree on the project we can start talking.”
As reported by the Italian news agency ANSA, Salvini also stressed that the idea of teaming up with the Democratic Party (PD) was off the table.
“I strongly feel the duty to stay true to the mandate of the 12m people who chose the centre right and the almost 6m who chose the League,” Salvini told the foreign press association in Rome.
“We are working to give a government to this country with a centre-right programme open to enrichment, contributions and proposals, but not turned on its head. It would be disrespectful to involve those who lost the election and, therefore, I say no to any government that has (outgoing Premier Paolo) Gentiloni, (Cabinet Secretary Maria Elena) Boschi and (Interior Minister Marco) Minniti at the centre.”
Salvini’s League is the biggest party in the centre-right alliance that came first in the election, winning around 37% of the vote.
The anti-establishment M5S is the biggest single party in the new parliament after winning over 32% of the vote.
The centre-left PD, which led the three governments of the last parliamentary term, is reeling after getting under 20%.
In a separate report on March 14, Di Maio was quoted as saying that Italy would be faster at forming a coalition government than Germany, which took six months. “Today in Germany after around six months the government has been formed, I think we’ll take less than that.”
Meanwhile, the Salvini’s declared intention to ignore the 3% budget deficit to GDP limit if he gets to power has shook Brussels. European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said: “I’ll let political leaders express their opinions but the 3% rule is a joint rule, I think it is a common-sense rule that enables the public debt to be reduced”.
According to Moscovici, financial markets are “serene” and the EU is “serene too” after two populist and Euroskeptic parties won Italy’s inconclusive general election. “I respect the rhythms of Italian democracy, the Italians expressed their preferences with the vote and now it’s up to (President Sergio) Mattarella and the political formations to define the new government,” he said. “I am confident that Italy will remain a solid and reliable partner.”