Italian government-formation talks start in uncertainty

The new-born Italian XVIII parliamentary-term comes to the first turning point, on Wednesday and Thursday. President Sergio Mattarella will begin, at Quirinale Palace in Rome, the first round of talks with parties and political groups in order to understand their chances to create a cabinet.

In line with Constitution, practice and etiquette, Mattarella will receive the political leader and the two Parliament Whip of each party. The most important talks will take place on Thursday, when the President will receive leaders of League, Forza Italia, Democratic Party and 5-Star Movement.

After the general elections of March 4th, which did not grant to any coalition the seats needed to create and operate a government autonomously, the first act of the Italian Parliament has been the election of Presidents for its two parts. In both of them, after some days of talks, a convergence has been found between the centre-right coalition led by Matteo Salvini’s League (with Silvio Berlusconi still quite powerful) and the 5-Star Movement, the outsider of Italian politics, led by Luigi Di Maio.

This brand-new block brought the nomination of Elisabetta Alberti Casellati (member of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia) as President of the Senate and 5-Star Movement’s Roberto Fico for the Chamber of Deputies. The Democratic Party, which suffered the worst result since its inception, deliberately chose to not take part in any talks with other political groups.

Now, the talks for starting a cabinet will be probably very different and harder. 5-Star Movement would be open to talk with League and Democratic Party, but essentially vetoing on any participation of Forza Italia in the government, Luigi Di Maio said. Indeed, the 5-Star electorate would never stand Silvio Berlusconi’s upteenth political rehabilitation. Furthermore, the Movement’s MPs would endorse only Luigi Di Maio as Prime Minister.

The League, after becoming the most voted party in the centre-right coalition, is now between in the crossfire. On one side, there is the chance of keeping the coalition united, trying to start a government with its natural allies, Forza Italia and Fratelli d’Italia. In this case, however, an agreement with Democrats will be necessary.

On the other side, League could break any relation with Berlusconi, trying to be the minority partner of a 5-Star cabinet.

The Democratic Party, even if badly defeated, could play a key role in this alliances. The party, with its interim leader Maurizio Martina, is right now set on the policy prompted by the former leader Matteo Renzi, namely to not give any support both to centre-right or 5-Star Movement. Instead, some Democrats MPs are more open to seek contact points with 5-Star Movement, fearing an even worse defeat in case President Sergio Mattarella decide to solve the impasse convening new general elections.

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