Italy: A vocal campaign, but light on key issues - ING


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The Italian election campaign has so far been vocal, mostly focusing on non-economic issues such as the migrants, public order and the morality of candidates, according to Paolo Pizzoli, Senior Economist at ING.

Key Quotes

“Interestingly, so far the theme of Europe has notably been almost absent from campaign discussions. The Five Star Movement, which for long had been indicating an (undoable) referendum on ITexit as its first move if in power backtracked on the issue, claiming that necessary amendments to the European governance will have to be made “from within”. Forza Italia, which had been flagging the idea of the adoption of a parallel currency, apparently shelved it.”

“Lega Nord, probably the most eurosceptic party on the political scene, turned quiet on European themes after finalising the formation of a centre-right coalition.”

Programmes or untenable promises?

  • The common feature of programmes published by the three main contenders was the announcement of lower taxes. If the centre-left follows a line of continuity with the current government's action, maintaining tax progressivity as its core, the centre-right points instead to a sharp twist towards a flat tax system. The M5S, on its own, is less specific, preannouncing lower personal and business taxes. As these promises are accompanied in many cases by commitments to increase minimum pension outlays, more public investments and other spending promises, one could wonder where the funding would come from.
  • The contrast with very ambitious projected declines in debt/GDP ratios is quite striking. Here, the programmes are vague enough to evaluate how difficult it will be to fulfil electoral promises.”  
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