Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and Democratic Party (PD) unveiled a shared policy program on Tuesday to serve as the basis of a new coalition government, putting an expansionary 2020 budget at the top of their agenda. The two parties, traditional foes, have agreed to form a new administration to head of snap elections after the previous administration comprising 5-Star and far-right League collapsed last month.
5-Star supporters are holding an online ballot on whether to support the proposed coalition and results are due on Tuesday. With voting just underway, the parties published a 21-point program that would underpin the planned government. At the head of the list was a commitment to use the coming budget to help the economy grow, but also a promise that it would not endanger public finances.
Italy has the second-largest debt burden in the European Union as a proportion of economic output, and the pact called for greater flexibility from Brussels to overcome the "excessive rigidity" of existing budget rules. Emphasizing social justice, the two parties pledged to introduce a minimum salary, avoid a planned VAT sales hike and boost spending on education, research, and welfare. The program also called for a web tax on multinationals and the creation of a public bank to help boost development in the south.
"This is a very delicate moment for the country. It must be tackled by focusing on the interests and needs of citizens, of the community that we all form together," 5-Star said in a blog on Tuesday, calling on its supporters to back the coalition deal.
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