“I am beginning to suspect that there is someone who wants to push M5S out of the government. If that’s true, they should say it clearly.” With these words, Giuseppe Conte raised the stakes in his maneuver to disengage from the odd majority that supports Draghi.
He is doing it by attributing such an intention to others, but the political point is that the leader of the M5S is on the offensive across the board: from weapons to Ukraine to standing against the incinerator in Rome to the defense of the “Superbonus” real estate tax incentive that the premier wants to cancel. On these issues — especially the war — the Movement is also distancing itself from the PD and trying to tap into the same pool of potential voters. It is a maneuver that already has the flavor of an election campaign, or at least of a clear positioning in view of the general elections.
Mario Draghi is Conte’s main target. According to the M5S leader, Draghi is responsible for not removing the Rome waste incinerator from the €14 billion aid decree, which also contains several measures requested by the M5S, such as the 25% tax on windfall profits — thus ensuring that the Movement will not vote for the decree. According to Conte, such a move looks a lot like “blackmail.” Draghi was also the originator of the attack on the Superbonus.
These are two “pokes in the eye” in the space of a handful of days, which the party with the relative majority is seeing as “provocation.” “On the matter of the incinerator, I hope nobody even thinks of proceeding on confidence. If anything, we’ll call for a vote of confidence ourselves,” attacked Conte, speaking on the sidelines at the presentation of the political school of the Movement, which will have among its teachers the Nobel Prize winner in economics Joseph Stiglitz.
If there is a vote of confidence, the party’s strategy is not yet decided. But Conte suggests that this time he doesn’t want to back down: “I would like to see if the ministers who signed that law would agree to live with an incinerator next door.”
As for the Superbonus, “Draghi has contradicted himself. He spoke erroneously in front of the European Parliament about a measure that has allowed him to boast of GDP growth. I think there is a strategic demonization of this measure, one that the whole world has looked at with envy.”
Conte spoke of “bitterness” and reiterated that “the issue must be clarified to the Italian people.” Could that be reprisal from the Prime Minister for the M5S’s demands that he speak before Parliament about the war? “If so, it would be very serious, an offense against the Italians,” attacked Conte. Then, of course, there is the question of fraud associated with the Superbonus: “We are reasonably willing to improve the measures to fight that,” he offered.
Then, there is the thorny issue of the war. The president of the M5S is insisting on the request that the prime minister should come before Parliament. The M5S group leader in the Chamber of Deputies, Davide Crippa, has already filed a formal request. “Other political forces have joined” this initiative, Conte stresses [namely the Lega], and he wants to go all the way to a vote on an advisory motion to the government. “After two months, a prime minister should go before Parliament to explain to the citizens with what positions he is going to the international forums: when he goes to Washington, will Draghi follow Biden’s lead, or will he also try to sway him to his own positions?”
He continues: “Italy must work for a political solution. The objective of the conflict cannot be to defeat Russia; if that were the case, it would be a big mistake and Italy should correct it.” And then, he warned of the risk of a “major recession that will hit Europe.”
There is more and more of a gap between the M5S and the PD: “It seems to me that it’s the Five Stars who want to get out of the government,’ Democratic senator Andrea Marcucci accused, who is pushing for electoral reform with proportional voting precisely in order to avoid the alliance with the M5S. Conte retorted: “We need to get things straight with the PD, those who want to work with us must know that we have non-negotiable principles,” accusing the PD of waffling with their ”late clarification” on the issue of the increase in military spending. “The PD can’t talk about ecological transition and then propose incinerators to us.”
“I’m looking at the points that bring us together, and there are many,” Letta replied. “Beyond the things that are being said, on the ground and in the municipalities, the wide tent exists and it is growing.“ In 70% of the cities above 15,000 inhabitants, the PD and the Five Stars are allies for the June municipal elections.
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