Italy’s Five Star Movement ‘explores’ coalition with centre-left

President Sergio Mattarella on Monday charged Chamber of Deputies speaker Roberto Fico with getting Italy's centre-left party into government with the Five Star Movement after talks between the anti-establishment group and the right failed.

Italy's Five Star Movement 'explores' coalition with centre-left
Roberto Fico gives a press conference after meeting the Italian president. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Fico was elected speaker of the lower house last month in a horse-trading pact that was supposed to smooth negotiations between Five Star (M5S) and the right-wing coalition led by the nationalist League.

However, he now finds himself with an “exploratory mandate” to see if the Democratic Party (PD) will give the M5S a parliamentary majority.

“I will get to work immediately and in my opinion the key point is to begin with issues and the programme in the interests of the country,” Fico said to reporters after meeting Mattarella on Monday.

Talks between M5S leader Luigi Di Maio and the League's Matteo Salvini collapsed last week after both refused to budge over Salvini's coalition partner, former premier Silvio Berlusconi.

READ ALSO: Berlusconi criticizes Italians for 'voting badly'

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Di Maio demanded that Salvini dump the 81-year-old media magnate, who the M5S regards as the symbol of political corruption, but Salvini insists he will not break up a coalition that won a combined 37 percent of the vote in March's inconclusive general election.

The M5S is Italy's largest single party with 33 percent.

M5S MP Fico comes from his party's left-wing but his chances of agreeing a government with the PD look even slimmer than they did with Salvini, as the M5S has heavily criticized the caretaker government led by the PD.

Interim PD leader Maurizio Martino has repeatedly refused to act as a “crutch” for a M5S administration and insists that his party will remain in opposition, even if some of his MPs would like to work with Di Maio's party to stop the formation of a government led by the far-right League. 



Italy’s hard right set for election victory after left-wing alliance collapses

An Italian centre-left election pact broke down on Sunday just days after it was formed, leaving the path to power clear for the hard-right coalition.

Italy’s hard right set for election victory after left-wing alliance collapses

The alliance between Italian centre-left parties was left in disarray on Sunday night, potentially meaning a landslide victory for the hard-right coalition at early general elections in September.

The leader of the centrist Azione party withdrew support for the left-wing coalition led by the Democratic Party (PD) just five days after the two joined forces, saying it could not work with left-wingers brought in to boost the alliance.

Carlo Calenda, leader of Azione, withdrew his support on Sunday after PD made another pact with smaller left-wing parties including the radical Sinistra Italiana, and new green party Europa Verde.

“You cannot explain (to voters) that to defend the constitution you make a pact with people you know you will never govern with,” Calenda told newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The news was greeted with jubilation by hard-right League leader Matteo Salvini, who tweeted: “On the left chaos and everyone against everyone!”

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the neofascist Brothers of Italy party (FdI) mocked a “new twist in the soap opera of the centre-left.”

READ ALSO: Italy to choose ‘Europe or nationalism’ at election, says PD leader

Analyists predict the centre-left split could hand the right-wing bloc a landslide victory at the election on September 25th, with Meloni tipped to become Italy’s first female prime minister.

Italy’s political system favours coalitions, and while Meloni has a strong alliance with Salvini’s League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Letta is struggling to bring together the disparate  progressive parties.

The PD is neck and neck with Brothers of Italy in the latest opinion polls, but even in partnership with Azione, the group most recently polled at 33.6 percent, compared with 46.4 percent for the right.

Political commentators said the only hope PD has now of posing a credible threat to the right-wing alliance would be by partnering with the Five Star Movement.

READ ALSO: Why has Italy’s government collapsed in the middle of summer?

However, Letta has repeatedly said this is out of the question, as he blames M5S for triggering the political crisis that brought down Mario Draghi’s broad coalition government.

“Either PD eats its hat and seeks alliance with M5S to defeat the right-wing coalition, or it’s hard to see how the right can possibly lose the forthcoming election,” Dr Daniele Albertazzi, a politics professor at the University of Surrey in England, tweeted on Sunday.

Early elections were called after Draghi resigned in late July. His government currently remains in place in a caretaker role.