The two big winners from Italy's election have reached agreement on a joint programme for government.
Matteo Salvini of the nationalist League and Luigi Di Maio of the 5 Star Movement have both promised they will give their voters a say on the plans. Epitomising the difference that exists between the two, Di Maio has offered an online vote to up to 500,000 people on his party's online platform (to be held on Friday 18th May), while the League will set up ballots in piazzas across the country during the weekend.
If they receive the backing of their supporters, the coalition government could take office as early as next week, ending 11 weeks of political paralysis. However, the two parties have yet to announce who they want to put forward as prime minister and still need the blessing of President Sergio Mattarella.
The final version of their agreement has been published on Friday 18th May after a first draft had been released on the day before. It includes the creation of a parallel "committee” to overlook the Government's work but, unlike earlier versions, it does not include a plan to exit the euro, noting policy in the area is under consideration, or write off debt.
The vow to stop the new Turin-Lyon high-speed train line (TAV) has been removed too, along with the indication of obligatory referendum before the construction of new mosques. The document does not contain a clear opposition to mandatory vaccinations, either.
It does back: opening up to Russia as a partner; introduction of a flat tax (15% and 20% rate); meaningful jail terms for major tax evaders; rejection of rules obliging asylum seekers to be processed in the first EU country they arrive in; introduction of mandatory relocation of refugees among member states; a review of EU treaties ; a guaranteed income of €780 a month and free nurseries but only for Italian families.
Here is a fuller summary of the proposals:
Creation of a “conciliation committee” to solve any possible conflict arising between League and M5S during government
An “ethical code” prohibiting convicted criminals or Masons from entering government
Public management of water supplies
Reform of national agencies overseeing agriculture and EU agricultural policy, “defend food sovereignty” and protect Made in Italy products
The Green economy and circular economy is defined as “priority; a zero waste plan will be drawn up; public buildings containing asbestos will be mapped; renewable energy will be increased and EU pollution standards met
Reform of the framework governing conflicts of interest to extend beyond economic affairs
Reform of the system that assigns public funding to culture projects in order to prioritise "quality"
Reduction of public debt not through austerity measures but by increasing internal demand and investing in families’ purchasing power. Exclusion of government bonds purchased by the ECB from debt calculations
Safeguarding of armed forces personnel, and research into high-tech industries; re-evaluation of the role of the army’s missions abroad;
Foreign policy: NATO membership confirmed, “opening to Russia not to be perceived as a menace but as a commercial partner”, rejection of sanctions on Russia;
No VAT increase; reduction of fuel taxes; adoption of “courageous and revolutionary” measures to reform the public sector bureaucracy; introduction of a flat tax, inauguration of a “fiscal amnesty” to reduce the number of debtors (especially those in financial distress); meaningful jail terms for major tax evaders.
Reform of the judiciary system to improve independence of the High Council of the Judiciary from the political sphere, simplification of trials
Self-defense defined as “always legitimate”
Harsher sentences for sex crimes, theft, robbery, frauds and a broad range of other offences; more resources to hire more agents
Rejection of the Dublin Regulation governing asylum seekers; mandatory relocation of immigrants among EU member states; asylum applications assessed in the country of origin; improvement of bilateral agreements with foreign countries to avoid greater immigration; creation of a hub for migrant deportation in each region; a register of all religious facilities and ministers (preaching should be done in Italian);
New law for minimum hourly salary for each category of workers, ban on unpaid work experiences; reform of the job market, more resources for career centres;
Harsher sentences for corruption – introduction of “undercover agents” to root out graft
Introduction of a Minister for Disability and Minister of Tourism;
Scrapping of a previous pension reform which raised the retirement age
No VAT for baby products and higher maternity bonuses; free nurseries but only for Italian families;
780 euros per month “citizen’s income” to be proposed in 2019 at a cost of 17 billion euros
A citizen’s pension for people living under poverty threshold - defined as under 780euros per month- and scrapping of pensions worth over 5,000 euros a month;
Reduction in the number of MPs and Senators, a ban on MPs changing parliamentary groups once elected; abolition of “validity threshold” for referendums to encourage direct democracy
More funding to local police forces and armed forces
More subsidies to buy electric cars, encourage car and bike sharing;
Lower taxes for enterprises operating in the touristic sector and introduction of a Touristic Web Tax on online travel agencies
Review of EU treaties
University and health sector reform