BERLIN – Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni downplayed on Friday the rise of populist and anti-European Union politics in his country ahead of the elections next month and insisted that a stable government would comprise a center-left coalition.
Gentiloni had met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and gave a joint press conference in Berlin on the same day that polls released in Italy suggested that no party would win a clear majority but that the center-right Forza Italia party and the right-wing Lega Nord were on track for a strong performance in the elections, slated for March 4.
“Italy will have a government, it will have a stable government,” said the Italian PM, a member of the center-left Democratic Party (PD). “I don’t think there is any risk it will have a government dominated by populist and anti-European positions.”
According to the political survey, the last to be released ahead of the ballot, the PD led by Matteo Renzi will secure only 23 percent of the vote.
Together, Forza Italia and Lega Nord could scoop 36 percent of the vote-share while the euroskeptic Five Star Movement (M5S) would take the largest individual result with between 27 and 29 percent.
Merkel, the leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, has recently gone through a tough negotiation period with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) following an inconclusive federal election in September 2017.
Gentiloni praised the coalition in Germany as a step in the right direction for the European Union.