Conte Vows a More ‘Inclusive’ Italy Under Left-Wing Govt After Populists Pull Plug on Coalition

Italys Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte addresses the media following a meeting with the Italian president, after he was given a mandate to form a new government, on August 29, 2019 at the Quirinal presidential palace in Rome. - The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), …
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Italy’s caretaker Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has accepted a mandate to form a new coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the left-wing Democratic Party after former deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini pulled out of the governing partnership with the M5S.

President Sergio Mattarella’s spokesman Giovanni Grasso said that the Democratic Party and M5S had reached a deal on Wednesday, reports POLITICO, which returns Conte to his role after he had resigned from the post last week.

The move forced a collapse between the right-populist League, headed by Matteo Salvini, who held the positions of deputy prime minister and interior minister, and the anti-establishment M5S, headed by Luigi Di Maio, also formerly the deputy prime minister.

Not belonging to either of the new coalition parties, Prime Minister Conte is, however, said to be close to M5S, and was highly critical of Mr Salvini’s hardline position on illegal immigration. The former interior minister had reduced the mass flow of illegals across the Mediterranean Sea to a trickle after the country had suffered under the previous Democratic Party government’s open borders programmes.

Mr Salvini’s policies included denying migrant transport ships, operated by NGOs, from landing on Italy’s shores. After the government’s collapse, the new interior ministry’s first move was to allow the sick, women, and children aboard the Mare Ionio to enter the country, signalling to NGOs and illegals the softening position of Italy on mass migration.

Prime Minister Conte said after receiving the mandate: “It will be a government for the good of the citizens, to modernise the country, to make our nation even more competitive internationally, but also more just, more supportive and more inclusive.”

Both M5S leader Di Maio and leader of the Democratic Party Nicola Zingaretti met with President Mattarella, with Di Maio saying afterwards: “We told Mattarella we are available to enter a new long-term political alliance with the Democratic Party to continue the mandate 11 million voters gave us last year without running away from our responsibilities.”

However, the new M5S-left-wing coalition is not a done deal, with the arrangement needing the approval of parliament in a confidence vote.

In the next few days, Conte will need to chose his cabinet, with clashes likely to occur between M5S and the Democratic Party over who will take top government posts.

Some in the Democratic Party wish to remove all past associations of the M5S-League coalition, including replacing Conte, who the M5S is keen to retain. Di Maio wants to be reinstated as deputy prime minister, that request reportedly denied by the Democratic Party on the grounds that the anti-establishment group has already had its pick of prime minister, insisting the next deputy must come from their party, instead.

A further complication remains that as the M5S’s structure demands any future coalition deal must be put to its party members, with The Telegraph reporting members have denounced online the proposed pact.

Salvini is highly sceptical of the new alliance between the former political foes, remarking, “the only glue is hatred of the League”, calling the proposed government “an insult to democracy”.

Expressing his confidence that in the next election the League, which pulled off an historic election win in May’s European Parliament elections, would be returned to power by the people, he added: “But in any case, sooner or later, be it in a month, a year, two years, we’ll have to go back to the polls. And then we’ll finally be able to act.”

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.