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Italy’s Populist Parties Agree on a Common Agenda to Govern

The agreement also reflected the Five Star Movement’s disdain for members of Parliament switching parties out of personal convenience and ambition. It proposed “a form” of a requirement that lawmakers remain with the party with which they were elected “to counteract the always growing phenomenon of party switching.”

Critics, while allowing that the party switching is often unsavory, have nevertheless called the proposal a grave threat to Italy’s representative democracy. They argue that such a rule could lead to demands that lawmakers vote in sync with their party, and that it strips the lawmakers of the ability to vote their conscience, thus putting loyalty to the party above loyalty to the Republic.

The Five Star Movement, which has little reverence for Italy’s representative democracy and advocates for direct democracy through clicks on the web, currently seeks to impose a fine of more than 100,000 euros, about $118,000, on lawmakers who leave the party after election.

Italy’s Populist Parties Agree on a Common Agenda to Govern
Italy’s Populist Parties Agree on a Common Agenda to Govern

On Friday, the leaders of the two parties did their best to put a smiling face, at times literally, on the document as they began reassuring their respective bases.

“Days and nights of work, many points from the program of the League and the center-right in this ‘Government Contract,’ ” Mr. Salvini wrote on Twitter, with a smiling emoticon.

“Enough of the lies from the newspapers and TV, here is the reality: Do you like it??” he added.

Mr. Salvini said that his party will set up “gazebos” in piazzas around the country where League members can vote on whether to approve the agreement.

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