Five Star, Northern League close in on coalition 6 weeks after election

Five Star, Northern League close in on coalition 6 weeks after election

Two months after Italy’s inconclusive general elections, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and conservative Northern League are nearing an

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Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty

Two months after Italy’s inconclusive general elections, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and conservative Northern League are nearing an agreement for a governing majority. With talks ongoing today, the parties have asked President Sergio Matterella to give them until Sunday to strike a deal.

Former PM Silvio Berlusconi, a leading voice in the League’s centre-right alliance, approved the League’s negotiation with M5S, but maintained that his own Forza Italia would remain on the outside. This would remove centrist parties from the governing majority.

Having ridden a wave of populist support to 32% of the vote, the most of any party, M5S wields significant bargaining power, and the League holds the second-most seats.

A coalition between the country’s two most populist major parties could see Italy adopt heavily Eurosceptic stances. However, the potential coalition’s chief concerns would likely be to please its base by enacting economic reforms, including cutting government spending and funding to businesses.

On the flip side, a staunchly anti-EU Italian government could pose major issues for the economy. Without centrist parties to soften policy, the country could weaken ties with EU economic institutions and funding measures, potentially driving Italy deeper into a debt crisis.

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