ITALIAN ELECTION PREVIEW: Will A M5S Victory Rock The EU?
Brussels faces another day of potential humiliation tomorrow as Italians go to the polls for their General Election. Italian electoral law prohibits opinion polls in the last two weeks so we have to look to the last opinion poll for a guide as to how people may vote.
A February 15 poll by Demopolis indicates that the M5S are vying with the ruling Democratic Party to win the most votes. The poll had them on 28% of the vote followed by the PD on 22.5% of the vote. The centre-right coalition led by former PM Silvio Berlusconi which early on in the campaign had looked like it would be the main challenger to PD was trailing on 16.5% of the vote.
If the M5S does come out on top it will represent a serious snub to the pro-European Italian establishment although the shockwaves may take some time to make their full effect felt. Luigi di Maio, leader of the M5S has certainly expressed repeated frustration with Eurocrats. He said:
Every year we send a two-digit million sum to the EU and always get less back.
I don’t think Italy has to pay more to Europe. I think the EU have to give more to Italy. We want to shape the EU. We want more flexibility on Eurozone deficit targets
Mr Di Maio is planning a swift reform of the overly-bureaucratic Italian legislative system. The changes suggested include a renegotiation of Italy’s relationship with the European Union, which is plagued with defects and in need of modernisation, according to Mr Di Maio.
We want to change the EU, we want to modify a series of treaties, rules that don’t work.
The monetary union has many defects. Before letting Italians decide whether they want out or not we need to rectify these defects. In its first year, an M5S government will focus on EU negotiations to try to bring together all European leaders that have become critical of the rules of the game.
Although domestic policy will unquestionably also play a role in deciding how people will vote it is not hard to see why the vote tomorrow will not also be taken as a referendum on the entire European project and how Italians feel about it. It could well be a long and sleepless night in Brussels……