Italy: Democrat Party Wants Borders Re-Opened as Price of Replacing Salvini Party in Coalition Govt

Italian left-wing party leader of the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico - PD) Nicola Z

Italy’s left-liberal Democratic Party has demanded the scrapping of populist leader Matteo Salvini’s anti-illegal immigration decrees as part of a potential coalition deal to keep the Five Star Movement in government without elections.

Leader of the Democratic Party (PD) Nicola Zingaretti laid out the conditions for a coalition deal with the Five Star Movement (M5S) this week following the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the collapse of the M5S-Lega coalition, Il Giornale reports.

A possible coalition between the PD and the M5S would take the prospect of fresh elections off the table — which M5S and the left greatly fear, due to Salvini’s Lega riding high in the polls — but a source close to Italian President Sergio Mattarella told the Financial Times that he would only approve of a coalition with a clear programme going forward.

An advisor to Zingaretti said the justification for wanting to scrap the anti-illegal immigration decrees of populist leader Matteo Salvini, which have slashed illegal sea crossings and, consequently, drownings, was because the PD leader, “doesn’t want to be in the position of preventing a migrant rescue ship from entering Italy because laws approved by the previous government say so, for example.”

The PD is not entirely united, however, with a faction under former prime minister Matteo Renzi expressing astonishment at Zingaretti’s proposals to the M5S.

“We knew absolutely nothing. If you wanted to make the deal go bankrupt, you should have said it right away,” a source close to the Renzi faction complained to Il Giornale.

The Five Star Movement is also believed to be conflicted on the proposition, with some calling for fresh elections while others, believed to be just over 50 per cent, are warming to the idea of a coalition with the centre-left establishment PD to stay in power.

A new election is also favoured by former right-wing prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who stated: “Governments are not born in the laboratory or on contracts,” and said that a makeshift majority would “be a mockery of the voters and a betrayal of their will.”

A snap election could favour Berlusconi and his Forza Italia party if they once again ally themselves in a centre-right coalition with Salvini’s Lega and the Brothers of Italy (FdI).

New polls show that the centre-right alliance could gain more than 50 percent of the vote, with Salvini’s Lega expected to gain as many votes as the M5S and the PD put together.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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