Five Star Movement to make gains in Italian election

Five Star Movement to make gains in Italian election

Italians vote today in general parliamentary elections.

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Photo: Victor Sokolowicz/Bloomberg

Italians vote today in general parliamentary elections. The “centre-right” coalition will probably emerge as the largest major electoral bloc. But it may fall short of a majority, leaving the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) with an opening to wield significant influence.

M5S will likely be the largest single party — it has been averaging 27.5% in polls. As such, leader Luigi Di Maio is set to argue that he should lead a minority government that will submit its program to the other parties. He has already announced a cabinet filled with academics and other non-politicians, but that bid for populist transparency is unlikely to win parliamentary support.

Though resistant to compromise, M5S may yet seek to capitalise on its position in a hung parliament. Di Maio would likely push for crowd-pleasing economic measures, like the party’s cutting of parliamentary salaries to fund businesses, a tactic which has already raised 23 million euros, though it has also caused controversy.

The more votes M5S wins today, the more power it can exercise in the new parliament. Even out of government, the bloc’s gains could show the other parties the consequences of failing to address disaffected voters’ wishes.

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