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With Promise of Italian Basic Income, M5S Wins Most Votes In Election

A struggling economy and the promise of an Italian basic income likely propelled the populist Italian party, M5S to win the largest percentage in the Italian election last Sunday. But M5S get enough votes to form a majority government and so will they be able to deliver on campaign promises?

After Sunday’s election in Italy, no single party won the necessary 40 percent to form a majority government, but populist party, The Five Star Movement (M5S) came the closest with 33 percent. Now voters are demanding M5S deliver on their promise of an Italian basic income.

The election was a result that many predicted and feared. Following in second was the Democratic Party (PD) with 18 percent.

A center-right coalition made up of Silvio Berlusconi‘s Forza Italia party and Lega (formerly Lega Nord)/The League as well as two other parties won the largest percentage of votes with 37 percent. Lega won the majority in the center-right coalition, suggesting it’s right-wing anti-immigrant policies could dominate the coalition.

Former prime minister and PD chief Matteo Renzi stepped down on Monday morning.

M5S is left needing to form a coalition government.

Ahead of the poll, M5S vowed not to set up an alliance with any political party. But now that M5S fell short of the necessary 40 percent to form a majority government the party is left looking for coalition partners.

Most political observers said that despite having an opposite point of view, the Five-Star will likely form a coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party. The ruling PD took a huge hit in the election winning only 18 percent after it won 40 percent in the previous election. But if it forms a coalition with M5S it could still play a vital role in a future government.

Italy’s leading paper Corriere Della Sera wrote that the possibility of the M5S-PD coalition is”the most accessible road to take, even if the route is uphill and steep.”

Other reports are saying that the Lega party is ready to leave the center-right wing coalition and work together with the Luigi Di Maiao’s M5S.

The world, as well as the EU, will have reasons to worry if a marriage between the two anti-EU parties happens.

M5S promises Italian basic income, but can they deliver?

The struggling economy is one of the major issues in Italian politics. Italy’s economy is trying to recover following the crash of the Euro in 2008. The unemployment rate is currently standing at 11 percent.

People criticized the ruling PD and center-left government for failing to tackle the unemployment. M5S, on the other hand, had something to offer. The party promised to raise the minimum wage for low-income households to a minimum €780 a month.

After the election, local Italian news agencies reported that job centers are receiving requests and applications for the basic income. Additionally Italian papers reported a surge in Google searches for terms like “universal basic income.”

One woman told The Local Italy: “It’s not easy for us to explain to these people that it’s a matter of a campaign promise, that there are no forms and not even any laws have been approved for a universal income,” said Valeria Andriano of the local Italian Labour Union, which has also been fielding inquiries for the Italian basic income.

M5S said on Italian television that it would take at least two years before the a basic income could be effective. Without a coalition M5S is unlikely to ever deliver on the promise of an Italian basic income.

What’s next?

It takes around three weeks to form a new government. The EU and the world will watch very closely on what will happen after the election. With no party winning the necessary 40 percent to form a ruling government, which parties will compromise and form a ruling coalition and will that coalition lean right or left?



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Yasmeen Rasidi

Yasmeen is a writer and political science graduate of the National University, Jakarta. She covers a variety of topics for Citizen Truth including the Asia and Pacific region, international conflicts and press freedom issues. Yasmeen had worked for Xinhua Indonesia and GeoStrategist previously. She writes from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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