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The Populists’ Euro

8 14 7

BERKELEY – The majority of Italians want two things: new political leadership and the euro. The question is whether they can have both.

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The point about new leadership is uncontroversial. The country’s two ruling populist parties, the League and the Five Star Movement (M5S), together commanded 50% of the vote in the March 4 general election, and, as a result, have majorities in both houses of parliament. Their majorities may be slim, but the election, in which the main center-right and center-left parties eked out just 33%, was a resounding repudiation of the status quo.

The second point is less well known, but even less controversial: recent polls show that 60-72% of Italians favor the euro. Some believe the single currency safeguards their savings, while others regard it as an emblem of Italy’s status as a founding member of the European Union. But if motives differ, the balance of public opinion does not.

Bowing to this reality, the coalition partners........

© Project Syndicate