Conte unveils new Italian government
Italy’s returning prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, says he is in a position to form a new government, which will be sworn in tomorrow (Thursday).
The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) approved a coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, has given the green light to the new coalition.
“There is a parliamentary majority and a government has been formed,” Mattarella told the media.
Nearly four-fifths of M5S members voted in favour of the new coalition.
More than 63,000 M5S supporters, 79.3 per cent of those voting online, backed the plan after party leaders said they would abandon the coalition if supporters voted against it. Nearly 16,500 M5S backers opposed the agreement.
The vote on M5S’s “Rousseau” virtual voting platform was organised by Davide Casaleggio, an IT manager who is the son of one of the movement’s co-founder. He claimed the turnout was a world record for an online political vote.
The M5S leader Luigi di Maio, the outgoing deputy prime minister, is expected to become foreign minister and the former PD prime minister Paolo Gentiloni is expected to get the role of European commissioner.
The new administration is expected to be less confrontational towards the European Union.
Conte said the veteran PD MEP Roberto Gualtieri would be appointed as economy minister.
Out of the 21 ministers, 10 are due to come from M5S and nine from the PD, with the remaining two from minor parties or independents.
The political crisis started last month when the far-right Lega Party leader, the other outgoing deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, pulled out of the coalition with the M5S in an attempt to force an early general election in the hope of cashing in on his rising popularity.
The gamble appears to have failed spectacularly as the M5S and PD formed an alliance to force Salvini into opposition for up to four years.
As he heads into opposition, Salvini faces an investigation into a leaked recording said to reveal his aides in talks to obtain illegal Russian election funding during 2018.
The UK-based investigative website Bellingcat has named two of the Russians on the tape, claiming they had links to the Kremlin.
The rest of the European Union will be looking for evidence of a relaxation of Italy’s hardline approach to migrants arriving on its southern islands. Picture credit: Wikimedia