Italy's government on the brink of formation

A month and a half has passed since the elections, and Italy still doesn’t have a government. But the next few hours could be decisive -- for the future of the country and for the populist party the Five Stars Movement (M5S).

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
Italy's government on the brink of formation - NewsMavens
Luigi Di Maio, Wikicommons.

Why this story matters:

On 18 April the President of the Senate was asked to verify the possibility of an agreement between the center-right coalition and the M5S. And even though the possibility of such an agreement is uncertain (the M5S vetoed Forza Italia), it is a decisive point for Luigi Di Maio’s Movement.

The choices he is called to make will weigh on the Movement, which has always been said to be neither right nor left and which brings together politicians from various backgrounds. Joining the center-right coalition could divide the party, just as joining the Democratic Party might do.

However, remaining in the opposition could also be problematic: the M5S has neither the apparatus nor the political culture of the Italian opposition party par excellence, the Communist Party. And Di Maio is surely aware that another term for the opposition could be harmful.This is a crucial moment for the Movement to dissolve its internal contradictions. It is also crucial for left, if it wants to regain the trust of the many Italians who voted for Di Maio and his party.

The background

  • On March 4, Italians voted in the parliamentary elections.
  • The party that scored the most votes --  32,68% -- is the 5 Star Movement.
  • After almost a month and a half of political deadlock, on 18 April President Sergio Mattarella entrusted the President of the Senate, Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, with verifying the existence of an agreement between M5S and center-right coalition, and their joint decision about the appointment of the Prime Minister.
  • Casellati will have time until Friday 20 April to assess the intentions of the Five Stars Movement, Forza Italia, Lega and Fratelli d'Italia coalition.
  • Reaching an agreement will be difficult: the M5S approved Lega but vetoed Forza Italia; the leader of Lega, Matteo Salvini, seems to have no intention of reaching an agreement with Silvio Berlusconi’s party as well, at least at the moment.
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