Italian Government Infighting Grows as League Gains in Poll

Italy’s League widened its advantage over its partner in the Italian government, the Five Star Movement, as tensions flared within the populist coalition.

Support for the anti-immigrant League rose to 34.7 percent in the Ipsos poll published in Corriere della Sera on Saturday, almost doubling the share of votes it gained in March general elections. Five Star was at 28.7 percent in the October poll, 4 percentage points below the election result, and the party’s leader Luigi Di Maio complained that some government members are undermining his push to increase benefits.

“I see some risks for citizens if some members of the government aren’t supporting what we are doing,” Five Star leader Di Maio told Corriere della Sera in an interview. “We have a government contract that should be respected by both parties.”

Coalition efforts to deliver on Di Maio’s promise of a so-called citizen’s income for poorer Italians, while also cutting taxes to satisfy the League’s backers, have opened a rift with the European Commission and pushed the country’s borrowing costs to the highest in four years. The government has until Nov. 13 to submit a revised 2019 budget to the commission after its initial plan was rejected for breaching European Union spending rules.
Di Maio said in the interview he doesn’t see any risk of Italy being sanctioned by the EU.

As the deadline approaches, some officials are floating measures that might help win EU support. Giancarlo Giorgetti, a League member and key aide to its leader Matteo Salvini, on Friday said the citizens income “would be difficult to implement,” according to La Repubblica. The proposed measure was one of Five Star’s main election-campaign promises and Di Maio wants to start implementing it before May’s European Parliament elections.

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