Open Europe Blog

Remember Italy?

Looking unusually smart in his dark suit, Beppe Grillo, along with some of his Five-Star Movement colleagues, this morning opened the second day of talks with President Giorgio Napolitano on forming the new Italian government.

After the meeting, Grillo’s parliamentary whips Vito Crimi and Roberta Lombardi (see picture) read a short declaration to the press. The following three points stood out:

  • The Five-Star Movement’s 20-point plan for government would include a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro. This now seems to have become official party policy; 
  • The Five-Star Movement wants “a full mandate” to form a government of its own choosing;
  • If the Five-Star Movement fails to obtain the mandate, it will request the chairmanship of two key parliamentary committees: COPASIR, which is in charge of supervising Italy’s intelligence services; and the committee in charge of supervising Italy’s public broadcaster RAI.

On his blog, Grillo has just ruled out supporting “political or pseudo-technocratic governments”. This sounds very much like a definitive ‘no’ to any solution other than a cabinet led by the Five-Star Movement itself, and essentially leaves two options open:

  • A national unity government backed by Silvio Berlusconi, centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani and possibly Mario Monti. Such a government could be led by either Bersani himself or someone from outside of politics. Incumbent Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri and newly-elected Senate speaker Pietro Grasso (a former anti-mafia prosecutor) are the names doing the rounds in the Italian media at the moment;

Bersani is due to meet President Napolitano this evening at 5pm (GMT). The prevailing view in the Italian media is that the President may announce the name of the (first) person tasked with forming the new government by tomorrow evening, or Saturday morning at the latest.

We’ll keep you posted with real-time Twitter updates from Italy. Follow us @OpenEurope or @LondonerVince.     

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