The deal still faces several hurdles, including negotiations over the Cabinet. The Five Stars will, as is their custom, undergo the agreement of an online poll of party insiders.
But the agreement that is taking shape is the unlikely result of a month of political upheaval in Rome – a time when the party leader of the National League Matteo Salvini pulled the plug out of his troubled coalition with the Five Stars and tried to call new elections organize to become prime minister. His move failed spectacularly as other parties negotiated a new majority and anticipated his rise.
Last year, President Trump admiringly talked about the Italian government ̵
1; including its tactics against migrants drafted by Salvini. But on Tuesday Trump gave Conte a recommendation and wrote on Twitter that Conte loves his country and works well with the US. A very talented man who will hopefully stay Prime Minister!
Under the new coalition, Conte would serve as prime minister, as he did during the 14-month League Five-Star government. But the government he represents would be significantly over-worked – probably less native, less interested in rhetoric against migrants and more willing to work with the European establishment. It remains to be seen, however, whether a government composed of two weakened and internally divided parties can win Italians and survive long enough to tackle the country's deep-rooted economic problems.
"This is a weak, chaotic, fragile party solution – with a very weak democratic legitimacy," said Giovanni Orsina, a professor at LUISS University Guido Carli in Rome. "These are parties that have lost elections for a year [regional and local]."
Even by the standards of a country that has had more than 60 governments since World War II, the past few weeks have shaken. At the beginning of August, Salvini seemed ready to become prime minister, turning Italy into the most solid right-wing extremist country in Western Europe. Instead, Italy is on the brink of a completely different government: one that does not include the most popular party.
The political machinations that brought the Five Stars and the Democratic Party together were only possible because everyone was worried about how to win a new election. The Five Stars, who outmaneuvered Salvini for more than a year, have wasted much of their support. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has been slowly trying to rebuild its leadership after falling into the political wilderness.
The parties take significant risks in cooperation. The five-star movement made a name for itself as a rebellious outsider of the Internet age and attacked the Democratic Party as corrupt and non-contact. The Democratic Party denounced five-star politicians for a long time as incompetent newbies with a penchant for conspiracy theories. For weeks, they debated the form of a possible new government – with party leader Nicola Zingaretti tracing the opposition to Conte.
"We love Italy and think it's worth trying this experience," Zingaretti told reporters Wednesday. "We want to put an end to the time of hatred, grief and fear."
If the two parties can form a coalition and leave their hostility behind, they have the opportunity to rule until the end of the legislature. This prospect would bring Salvini out of power for years and possibly reduce the momentum of a politician who defeated the Italian Politics had changed in his image and in Western Europe had become the face of the extreme right.
It was this popularity that Salvini had gained hoping to make a difference when he said at the beginning of August that he was tired of the five-star obstacles and demanded a no-confidence vote against Conte. "Let's give the voters a quick choice," Salvini said at the time.
Conte resigned before facing the vote. But on the way out, Conte – a lawyer who had been taken out of the dark by the Five Stars last year to become the Prime Minister of the Coalition – met Salvini with a few heavy blows. He said Salvini was "obsessed" with immigration policies and "constantly" anxious to increase his own support. In recent weeks, support for the Salvini League has dropped to 34 percent, compared to 39 percent in late July, according to a survey by the newspaper Sole 24 Ore. According to surveys, Conte is Italy's most reliable politician.
Salvini said on Wednesday that the members of the Five Stars and the Democratic Party would "stop at nothing to keep their posts" and accused the Five Stars of branding themselves as populist revolutionaries and forming a government with the "maximum defenders of the system".
So far, financial markets have welcomed the idea of the new coalition – assuming that European heads of state and government are more committed to European financial rules and have a better relationship with regulators in Brussels. Salvini's goal was to crack down on the bloc's decrees, and although Five Stars members also tend to be Eurosceptic, those views are being abandoned by the Democratic Party.
Earlier this week, Zingaretti had called for an alliance, a "clear, unpronounceable decision by Europeans and a commitment to building a deeply renewed Europe based on development, work and solidarity."
The migration could weaken Italy's stance – but only to a degree. Salvini, with fanfare in the social media, closed Italian ports for most of the rescue boats with a migration background and drafted new laws aimed at limiting their operational capability in the Mediterranean. The politicians on the left have accused Salvini of being afraid of migration. However, leaders across the ideological divide the view that Italy has carried an unfair burden and that the rest of Europe has not helped in the distribution of migrants across the continent. Analysts note that Salvini's predecessor as head of the Interior Ministry, Marco Minniti, has worked with less fanfare to stem migration from Libya. Minniti is a member of the Democratic Party.
"As you reopen the ports, the NGOs in the Mediterranean multiply, traffickers throw the desperate on our shores, and the stream begins again, this government is dead in the water, because that's something the country does not accept will, "said Orsina. "I think the rhetoric will change, but not the substance."
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