Fate of Italy’s New Coalition Cabinet to Be Decided in Online Vote by Five Stars Movement

Fate of Italy’s New Coalition Cabinet to Be Decided in Online Vote by Five Stars Movement

The M5S’s founding principle of direct democracy will be decisive in determining whether Italy would avoid early elections.

The fate of Italy’s new ruling coalition and Cabinet between the leftist Democratic Party and the leftist populist Five Stars Movement is to be decided in an online vote amid the members of the latter.

The two leftist former arch-enemies have agreed to form a new governing coalition in order to prevent the holding of early elections that could catapult Matteo Salvini, the leader of the right-wing populist League party, to the Prime Minister post.

The new government of the Democratic Party and the Five Start Movement is to be headed by outgoing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Conte was also the Prime Minister in the coalition Cabinet based on the short-lived alliance between the leftist populist Five Stars Movement and the League, which survived for 14 months.

It was League leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who in essence took down the government in August, seeking to capitalize on his party’s gains in the 2019 EU elections: while the League won only 17% of the vote in the 2018 Italian elections, in May 2019, its result went up to 34%. The votes of M5S went from 33% in 2018 to 17% in the 2019 EU vote.

Italy’s old – new Prime Minister designate Conte on Sunday made clear his expectation that the talks for the ministerial seats in the new Cabinet of the Five Stars Movement and the Democratic Party would be finalized by Wednesday, and that the “political mood” between the two former opponents was good.

“It will be on Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. Obviously I am confident on a positive outcome,” he said in a video interview during a conference organized by Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper, as cited by Reuters.

Conte received the mandate to form a new Cabinet from Italian President Sergio Mattarella last Thursday.

If no agreement is sealed in the coming week, Mattarella is expected to dissolve the Italian parliament and set a date for a new general election.

The Five Stars Movement meanwhile made it clear that its members will vote online on the coalition with the Democratic Party in an online poll on Tuesday, between 7 am and 4 pm GMT, on the formation’s Internet platform called “Rousseau”.

The online poll is in line with the Five Stars Movement’s direct democracy principles.

According to the Movement’s blog, the government program for the future Cabinet would be available online before the beginning of the vote.

“I know it is difficult, but we’re doing our best to give this country a new government,” Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti said on Sunday in a video post on Twitter.

“We do politics thinking of a common good. Italy needs a government that averts a planned VAT tax increase and pulls the country out of the isolation in Europe caused by Salvini,” said former Prime Minister and former Democratic Party leader, Matteo Renzi, as quoted in Il Sole business daily.

Beppe Grillo, the influential comedian who founded the Five Stars Movement, also came out in favor of a deal on Saturday, urging the Democratic Party to use the “unique” chance of forming a new ruling coalition.

“Another chance like this one will not come again. Let’s try to dream, to have a vision,” the comedian said in a video blog message.

According to a poll published by the Corriere della Sera daily on Saturday, Salvini’s League party remains the most popular formation in Italy with 31.8%, down from a high of 35.9% in July.

The Five Stars Movement’s popularity grew by 7 percentage points to 24.2%, while the Democratic Party rose slightly to 22.3%.

(Banner image: Giuseppe Conte on Twitter)

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