Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Italy's 5-Star, League on Verge of Government Deal; Markets Shudder

Italy's 5-Star, League on Verge of Government Deal; Markets Shudder

The partnership between the League's Matteo Salvini and Mr. Di Maio would represent a blow to mainstream European political parties across the continent.

Speaking to reporters in parliament, Salvini said the policy agenda the two parties have been working on for a week was "almost finished", and he and 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio would meet with President Sergio Mattarella "even before Monday".

The League and 5-Star have failed to agree on forming a coalition between themselves after an inconclusive election on March 4, but they have enough votes together in parliament to block any other government from taking office.

There was still no word on the thorny issue of who would be prime minister.

On Wednesday morning Salvini said that negotiations were nearing conclusion, while Di Maio confirmed the two parties could wrap up the "contract of government" within the day.

This would cut 10 percentage points off Italy's debt/GDP ratio.

The League has promised to introduce a flat tax rate of 15%, which would tax revenues by some 80 billion euros (RM376 billion) per year, while 5-Star has pledged new welfare payments for the poor costed at around 17 billion euros (RM80 billion).

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They have both vowed to scrap an unpopular pension reform - a move that would punch a 15-billion-euro hole in state coffers.

Brussels has called on the next Italian government, which is likely to be formed by Eurosceptic parties, to remain on the "European path" and not tear up the EU's strategy for controlling migration.

Salvini, saying he was "optimistic but realistic" about a deal, took rhetorical aim via social media at European Union migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The Northern League firmly opposes current European Union budget rules.

Both groups have a history of euroskepticism.

They also share an anti-establishment sentiment that has taken root in Italy but which has worldwide parallels such as Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the US election of President Donald Trump.

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