Italian Leaders Baulk Over Who Should Get The “Premiership”

Luigi Di Maio of M5S and Matteo Salvini of the League seem to have reached an impasse over who should get the Prime Minister’s job. Di Maio has always maintained that M5S, the majority party, should come away with the PM’s chair. Salvini insists that the Center Right Coalition’s lead in the popular vote entitles it to claim the PM’s job. Di Maio has countered offering Salvini and his party no less than four major cabinet posts in return for backing an M5S candidate as Premier.

It is hard to believe that two men who have repeatedly complemented each other in public (an extremely rare occurrence in the Italian political arena) and talked out and resolved more than one dicey issue are prepared to trash everything over the job of Prime Minister. Why? Well, because in Italy’s parliamentary system and under the present Constitution, the PM job is that of a “primus inter pares” minister with few real powers. Certainly, nothing like that of a British Prime Minister.

On the other hand, as both men have so far kept their respective word and played their cards up front, the offer of four or more major cabinet posts should come like music to the ears of Matteo Salvini and his League.

Behind the impasse could be M5S’s reluctance to give anything of value to Silvio Berlusconi and his Forza Italia Party. But even that, if handled properly, should not be a major obstacle for either of Mr. B or his Party given the golden opportunity to keep the ex-communists at bay and out of power for an entire legislature. The chance to “drain the (Roman) swamp” is too big of a prize to let slip through the fingers of M5S and the League and could end up cementing ties between the Center Right Coalition and M5S.

In consideration of the fact that the Center Right Coalition and M5S together comprise a new-born parliament made up of political forces for the most part uncompromised with the political ghosts of Italy’s past, in the knowledgeable hands of people with vision, savoir faire and daring, such forces could usher in a new era of institutional rebuilding such as to free Italian potential from the schackles of the past.


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