Election 2018: Centre-right manifesto – English


(ANSA) – Rome, February 14 – The centre-right coalition is
the political bloc seen as mostly likely to come first in
Italy’s March 4 general election on the basis of the opinion
polls, although there is uncertainly about whether the alliance
will have a working majority in parliament, even if it comes
first.
   
The block is made up of three-time premier Silvio
Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI), Matteo Salvini’s Euroskeptic,
anti-migrant League, Giorgio Meloni’s rightwing Brothers of
Italy (FdI) party and a small group of centrists.
   
At the time of writing, the coalition had not said who its
premier candidate is.
   
Berlusconi is currently ineligible to stand, although he is
appealing to the European Court of Human Rights against a ban
stemming from a tax-fraud conviction.
   
He has said European Parliament President Antonio Tajani
would be a good premier, while Salvini has said he should lead
the government if the League overtakes FI and wins more votes
that its coalition ally in the election.
   
The programme was agreed on in January although there are
differences on how it is being interpreted, especially between
Berlusconi and Salvini.
   
The media billionaire, for example, pledged that the centre
right would respect the EU’s 3%-deficit-to-GDP ratio limit when
he presented the manifesto to the European People’s Party (EPP).
   
Shortly after Salvini said that, as far as he was concerned,
Italy should feel free to ignore the threshold if it was in its
interests to do so.
   
The programme itself simply says the centre right is against
austerity.
   
One of the key points is the pledge to introduce a flat tax
on business and households, which Berlusconi has said should be
at a rate of 23%.
   
The centre right is also promising to abolish taxes on
donations, inheritance, people’s first homes, cars and savings.
   
Another key plank of the manifesto is the commitment to scrap
the 2011 Fornero pension reform which introduces a mechanism to
raise the retirement age in relation to life expectancy to make
the system sustainable.
   
This is another area where differences have emerged.
Salvini has said that the reform must be abolished
completely, while Berlusconi has said it should be largely
revised, with some parts being kept.
   
The proposals for the flat tax and the abolition of the
Fornero law have been criticised on the grounds that the
promises cannot be kept because they would cost the State many
billions of euros.
The programme promises to increase minimum pensions and
revise the Good School reform introduced by the centre left,
giving greater freedom to families in education choices.
The centre right are vowing to take a hard line with the
migrant crisis and “block the landings with assisted push-backs
and treaties with the countries of origin of the economic
migrants”.
Another priority is security, with “district” police and
Carabinieri officers and extension of the ‘Safe Streets’
programme to use the armed forces in all cities.
   

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