Executive Intelligence Review


Heads of Italy’s Parliament Elected Through Lega-M5S Agreement

March 26, 2018 (EIRNS)—The Italian Parliament has convened and elected the two presidents of the Parliament, thanks to an agreement between the Lega and the Five Star Movement (M5S). The new president of the Chamber of Deputies is Roberto Fico (M5S) and new president of the Senate is Maria Elisabetta Casellati (Forza Italia). Although Casellati was the candidate of the entire Center-Right coalition, she was chosen in direct negotiations between M5S Premier candidate Luigi di Maio and Lega head Matteo Salvini, after the M5S had rejected Silvio Berlusconi’s preferred choice, former Economic Development Minister Paolo Romani (Forza Italia).

The agreement has outlined a potential government alliance between the M5S and the Lega, which then would split from the other parties of the Center-Right coalition. Defeated candidate Romani, who is very close to Berlusconi, exposed the deal by saying,

“I have the impression that the political geometry being outlined leads a consistent part of the Center-Right to make an agreement with the M5S. I do not share such a geometry.”

The coming days will tell whether Salvini and Di Maio outmaneuvered Berlusconi, or whether Di Maio outmaneuvered both. The Lega and the M5S have convergences in foreign policy, but they disagree on the substance of economic policy. The Lega is in favor of investments in infrastructure; the M5S is for a no-growth, green economy. They both have Glass-Steagall in their programs, but to introduce Glass-Steagall means to have a confrontation with Brussels. On this, there is a big question mark on the M5S. Judging from its record and election campaign, this is not going to happen.

Now the ball is in the court of State President Sergio Mattarella. He will consult all parliamentary faction leaders in order to find out whether there is a potential government majority in Parliament. On the basis of those consultations, he will give a mandate. As the history of government formation in Italy shows, there is no limit to creativity in finding a solution, which can be a long-term, a short-term, or a “technocratic” one.

Dr. Gilbert Doctorow, a member of the American Committee for East West Accord, in an interview with Sputnik yesterday, said of Italy’s post-election foreign policy:

“This could lead to Italy adopting a veto on [EU anti-Russia] sanctions; and Italy is not Hungary—Italy is the fourth largest economy in the EU. It’s one of the founding countries of the EU, so if Italy should break with the ongoing policy of sanctions, then that will be the end.”