Italy is one step closer to quitting the eurozone as support for the Five Star Movement surges
Italian voters are becoming increasingly disillusioned with mainstream politicians, leaving an ever-widening gap for the Five Star Movement.
And a potential alliance between the anti-establishment party and the Northern League is brewing after the 2018 elections, which could spark a referendum on the euro.
Comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star party’s White Paper for Europe calls for legal procedures to allow countries to leave the eurozone and a permanent opt-out clause for any country that wishes to be a member of the EU but not join the euro.
Opinion polls this week showed Five Star has the backing of more than 30 per cent of Italians and a lead of up to seven points over the second placed Democratic Party.
If Five Star fail to secure enough votes to form a majority government then speculation is rife the Northern League could help them come to power.
But Five Star leaders insist they want to rule Italy alone.
We want to run alone at the next elections, as we always did, and we target a 40 percent win, which would allow us to obtain the mandate to form a new government
Alessandro Di Battista
Alessandro Di Battista, one of the leaders of the movement, told Politico: “We want to run alone at the next elections, as we always did, and we target a 40 percent win, which would allow us to obtain the mandate to form a new government.
“If that doesn’t happen, and we get less than 40 percent of the vote, we’ll be ready to explain our platform in parliament and submit it to all the other parties.
“Then it will be their responsibility to say Yes or No to a government led by the 5-Stars.”
Comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star party has called for a euro referendum
Alessandro Di Battista wants Five Star to form a majority government
Despite Five Star’s reluctance to share power, the Northern League is prepared to consider a coalition and its leader Matteo Salvini is keen to go into government with whoever will back their battle against “a disastrous European Union and its harmful policies”.
The Northern League has run a campaign calling for the end of the euro, no immigrants and lower taxes.
But despite the anti-euro sentiment the Five Star Movement appears to be distancing itself from its initial calls for a referendum on Italy’s currency.
Lower house deputy Luigi Di Maio says Italians must decide about the euro
Last week the party said a referendum on the euro was not its top priority and that it hoped Europe would reform before a ballot could be arranged.
Lower house deputy Luigi Di Maio, 30, who is widely expected to be Five Star’s candidate for prime minister, said the euro referendum would take time to organise, and tackling poverty in Italy was more urgent.
He said: "In the meantime we hope that European institutions come to their senses.
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"It's not true that 5-Star wants to take Italy out of the euro. We want Italians to decide."
Opinion polls show Italians' sentiment towards the euro has soured in recent years, but most still suggest that a majority would vote to remain in the eurozone if a referendum were held today.
Mr Di Maio kept all options open over the future of the euro, saying Italy could either remain in a reformed euro zone, or form part of a new currency shared by southern European countries, or return to its old lira currency.