Italy’s emerging Euroskeptic coalition of M5S & Lega Nord announces its choice for PM

Italy’s emerging Euroskeptic coalition of M5S & Lega Nord announces its choice for PM
Leaders of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and its right-wing coalition ally Lega Nord have presented to Italian President Sergio Mattarella their pick for prime minister – Giuseppe Conte.

Mattarella must agree on their nominee, before the two parties can seek parliamentary approval for their emerging government. Following the meeting with the president, the PM nomination has been confirmed by the representatives of the parties.

Conte, a 54-year-old law professor, has been named as the candidate from the two parties. They have reached agreement upon the nominee following lengthy negotiations on Sunday.

“We are agreed on the head and the ministers of the government and we hope that no one will veto a choice that represents the will of the majority of Italians,” Lega Nord leader Matteo Salvini said on Sunday, describing the nominee as “a professional who contributed to the drafting of the contract” between the two parties.

Italian media correctly guessed their pick, also suggesting that Salvini himself is expected to lead the Interior Ministry, while Five Star Movement chief Luigi Di Maio is likely to become either economic development or labor minister.

Both the Five Star Movement and Lega Nord scored roughly a third of the votes during the March 4 general elections. The two parties were initially reluctant to engage in any coalition talks with each other. However, they have seemingly found a compromise since then, as early in May President Mattarella announced his intention to appoint a “neutral government,” irrespective of the majority parties’ opinion on each option.

The Five Star Movement and Lega Nord officially unveiled a joint policy program on Friday, paving the way to form the new government. The program focuses on solving domestic problems, namely the immigration and refugee issues, taxation and the social benefits system. In addition, the document outlines Italy’s foreign policy as focused on its national interests. This includes the call for immediate lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia, which “should not be perceived as a threat but as an economic and business partner,” according to the government program.

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