Here are the key proposals from the M5S-League government programme

Italy's Five Star Movement (M5S) and League parties are set to take power after forming a coalition cabinet. Here are some of the proposals from their "government of change".

Here are the key proposals from the M5S-League government programme
M5S leader Luigi Di Maio and League leader Matteo Salvini. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

On Italy's debt

Italy is battling a public debt of €2.3 trillion, 132 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) – the second highest ratio in the EU behind Greece. The M5S-League coalition promises to stimulate the economy through more spending.

“The government's actions will target a programme of public debt reduction not through revenue based on taxes and austerity, policies that have not achieved their goal, but rather through increased GDP by the revival of internal demand,” the document says.

Just four sentences of the document dealt with the public debt and deficit.

On the EU

The eurosceptic coalition promises a series of measures to reign in the EU including renegotiation of EU treaties and a review of the bloc's economic governance on issues such as the single currency.

On tax and 'basic income'

The League has inserted its flat tax policy into the programme, adding a 20 percent rate to the 15 percent proposed before the election. Also included is Five Star's flagship basic income plan, which sees €780 a month paid to those with no revenue, while those earning less than the basic will see their income topped up. It will be revoked from anyone who refuses three job offers within two years.

On immigration

The parties pledge to stop “the business” of migration, cracking down on smuggling networks and cooperatives that manage asylum centres. They also want to speed up expulsions of illegal immigrants.

They demand Italy have “a decisive role” in European negotiations on migration and want to accelerate the examination of asylum applications and systematic repatriation of rejected applicants, who can be held up to 18 months in detention centres.

On Islam

Also mooted are a registry of imams, immediate closure of unauthorized mosques and the inclusion of “community involvement” into a new law on the building of mosques.

On southern Italy

The parties decided not to outline specific measures targeting the south of the country, which has historically had a higher level of unemployment and poverty and a lower level of public services. This decision was taken “in the knowledge that all the political choices in this contract… are oriented towards a homogeneous economic development for the country”.

On pensions

A gradual roll back of a retirement that is due to reach 67 in 2019, instead enabling retirement when the sum of a person's age and years of social security contributions reach 100.

On security

In the name of self-defence individuals would be allowed to shoot anyone who enters their home, even in the absence of a clear physical threat. This is something Salvini's League has campaigned for after several high-profile cases in which people have faced charges for shooting burglars.

New prisons would be constructed, “as many foreign prisoners as possible” sent to serve sentences in their home country and large numbers of police officers — all equipped with a video camera — and carabinieri military police recruited. The parties also want tougher sentences for sexual crimes and under-age offenders.

On Russia

The “contract” underlines Italy's place in the Atlantic alliance “with the United States as a privileged partner”, but asks for the immediate removal of sanctions against Russia “which should not be perceived as a threat but as an economic and commercial partner”. Both parties have courted Russia in recent years.

On institutional reforms

Among the more drastic proposals is slashing the number of parliamentarians to 400 MPs (from 630) and 200 senators (from 318). All would be banned from changing political parties during the legislature. They also want to beef up the use of popular referenda in law-making and grant more power to the regions.

On corruption

A “severe and incisive anti-corruption law” is planned to recover resources and boost competitiveness. The parties propose increased penalties, life-time banishment from public office and the introduction of “agents provocateurs” to test the honesty of officials.

On the economy

Setting up an unspecified legal minimum wage, blocking the sale of the Alitalia airline and completely re-negotiating the controversial Turin-Lyon high-speed railway are all in the plan, which also sets out measures to increase savings protection and the accountability of both the management and supervisory authorities of banks.

The development of the “green-economy” and use of electric cars is also a priority.

On politics and society

The document proposes that no-one convicted of corruption, being investigated for serious crimes or Freemasons can become ministers, while conflict of interest criteria for parliamentarians will be beefed up.

Italy's commitments to international military missions would be reassessed.

To shore up Italy's collapsing birthrate, the state would offer free nursery schooling for children of “Italian families” (whether this would in fact include all families resident in Italy is unclear) and not apply VAT on early childhood products. All illegal Roma camps to be closed and Roma children who don't attend school removed from their families.

More stringent regulations on the gambling industry are mooted, including a complete ban on advertising and sponsorship.


Milan fashion mobilises for Italy vote

Go out and vote to protect your rights, top Italian designers urged compatriots this week as the Milan shows coincided with elections predicted to see a far-right government take power in Rome.

Milan fashion mobilises for Italy vote

From Donatella Versace to Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, calls to mobilise have been everywhere at Milan Fashion Week. Houses such as Gucci and Fendi are actively helping their employees cast their ballots in Sunday’s general elections.

“Go out and vote, these elections are so important for our country!” Versace said on Instagram ahead of her fashion house’s Friday show.

“On September 25 vote to protect rights already acquired, thinking about progress and with an eye on the future,” she posted.

“Never look back.”

Left-wing activists fear the ascent to power of far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, who is leading opinion polls, will lead to a step backward for rights in Catholic-majority Italy.

READ ALSO: Giorgia Meloni’s party will likely win the elections – but will it last?

Meloni and her main ally, League party leader Matteo Salvini, advocate traditional Catholic family values and rail against what she calls “LGBT lobbies”.

Meloni says she would not change the law legalising abortion, but says she wants to give mothers “the choice” not to terminate.

Piccioli, creative director at Valentino, published a lengthy post on Instagram in defence of tolerance, under the title, “A man of the left”.

‘Afraid of the consequences’ 

“The idea that there are people, human beings, who at this moment may be afraid of the consequences of this election fills me with rage,” he wrote.

He called on young people in particular to go and vote, because “we must not step back a millimetre on rights we have, and in fact the time is right to acquire new and fundamental ones”.

Influencer and fashion entrepreneur Chiara Ferragni has also called on her 28 million Instagram followers to defend LGBTQ and abortion rights.

While accepting that many people might feel unhappy about the choices on offer, she warned that not voting “is only to delegate to others what is up to us to decide”.

For millions of Italians, however, taking part in elections is not straightforward.

Postal voting is not available except for those living abroad, meaning they must physically return to their legal place of residence to cast a ballot.

And here again designers in Milan are getting involved.

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: What happens on election day and when do we get the results?

Giacomo, a member of staff for Gucci based in Rome who did not give his last name, said the fashion giant “has completely reorganised the work to allow us to go home to vote”.

Like the rest of his team, he is in Milan for the spring/summer 2023 catwalk shows that run until Monday.

Paying for travel home

“We organised a lot of things to finish up on Saturday — we’re on our knees but reassured to be able to go and vote,” he told AFP.

“Some of us will go back to Milan on Sunday evening or Monday to continue the post-show work, and everything is taken care of by Gucci.”

From designers and stylists to production and marketing staff, about 80 percent of the teams of fashion houses are mobilised to Milan both for the show and, afterwards, sales.

Serge Brunschwig, head of Fendi, which had its show here on Wednesday, said its Milan showroom would close on election day on Sunday.

“We are paying for the travel of our Italian teams so they can go to their polling stations and return to Milan on Monday or Tuesday,” he said.

With turnout predicted to be historically low, below 70 percent, many here feel that if they can get back to vote, then they should.

READ ALSO: INTERVIEW: What’s behind the decline in Italian voter turnout?

“Some of us have to go and vote in Puglia, in Sicily, in Sardinia,” said Roberto Strino, 39,  who works for Giorgio Armani, railing against the lack of a technological alternative.

“I will do it, because the elections are very important and we must take a stand against the far-right.”

READ ALSO: Your ultimate guide to Italy’s crucial elections on Sunday