Italy: Conte presents its “populist” policy in parliament

Ⓒ AFP – Andreas SOLARO – | The new head of the Italian government Giuseppe Conte on June 5, 2018 in the Senate

The new head of the Italian government, Giuseppe Conte, defended with ardor in front of the parliament the “populist” policy that he now intends to pursue: fight against the “business” of immigration, revival of growth and openness with Russia.

“If populism means being able to listen to the needs of people, then we claim it,” said Conte, who took the lead on Friday of the first populist government in a founding country of the European Union.

Novice in politics, unknown to Italians two weeks ago, this 53-year-old lawyer clashed with conviction in the Senate Chamber, where he came to present his first general policy speech before asking the confidence of Parliament.

Flanked by his two powerful deputy prime ministers, Luigi Di Maio, leader of the Five-Star Movement (M5S, anti-system), and Matteo Salvini, the boss of the League (far right), Mr. Conte immediately announced that he would be the “guarantor” of the “government contract” signed between these two “majority shareholders” of the coalition.

“I am a citizen who has declared himself available to assume this responsibility of President of the Council and to be guarantor of the contract of change,” he declared, while many observers in Italy are questioning its autonomy .

“I am aware of the responsibility I have assumed, and well aware of the prerogatives that the Constitution attributes to the President of the Council,” he said.

Ⓒ AFP – Alain BOMMENEL – | Italy: the weight of debt

Mr Conte has unsurprisingly confirmed the objectives contained in the “contract” of his government: reduction of taxation, fight against illegal immigration, income from citizenship (integration income for the poorest) and renegotiation of certain European rules , starting with those concerning the right to asylum provided for in the Dublin Agreement, which places the bulk of the burden of receiving migrants on front-line countries, such as Italy.

– ‘Migration crisis’ –

Italy has been left alone in the face of the migration crisis, he lamented, calling for an “automatic” and “mandatory” system of distribution of asylum seekers.

“We will put an end to the + + business of immigration, which has increased disproportionately in the shadow of a false solidarity,” he added, thus echoing the theses of Matteo Salvini, vice-premier Minister also holding the strategic portfolio of the Interior.

Ⓒ AFP – Andreas SOLARO – | The new head of the Italian government Giuseppe Conte on June 5, 2018 in the Senate, surrounded by his two powerful deputy prime ministers: Luigi Di Maio (leader of the Movement 5 Stars, on the left) and Matteo Salvini (boss of the League, on the right)

Highly anticipated on European issues, Mr Conte said that the colossal debt of Italy should be reduced, but by policies promoting growth and employment, and not by austerity measures, again in accordance with commitments M5S, which he is close to, and the League.

On the other hand, it did not give details on the financing of the measures envisaged in the “government contract”, which could represent tens of billions of dollars. And while he confirmed his government’s willingness to introduce a flat tax, an income tax of 15% and 20%, he gave no date. Ditto for citizenship income.

“Europe is our home,” he also said, also claiming Italy’s membership in the Atlantic Alliance. On the diplomatic front, Conte also confirmed the “openness” to Russia, which the two political forces of the majority have always defended.

“We will be the proponents of a revision of the system of sanctions,” he told senators, 24 hours after statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin denying any desire to “destabilize” or “divide” the Union. European.

– G7 in Canada –

The vote of confidence must take place in the evening in the Senate and Wednesday in the Chamber of Deputies. The new head of the Italian government is due to visit Canada, where he is expected this weekend to participate in his first G7 and meet his Western colleagues.

In the Senate, the coalition M5S-League has a majority of only six seats (167 out of 320), but it can likely count on the abstention of 18 senators of Fratelli d’Italia (FDI, far right), which will reduce as much as the quorum, allowing the government to overcome the ordeal without problem. Voting should take place after 8:00 pm (6:00 pm GMT).

In the Chamber of Deputies, which will discuss the program of Mr. Conte Wednesday evening and will vote in the evening confidence in the government, the situation is even more comfortable for the coalition M5S-League, which has a majority of 30 seats.

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