ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s political parties have presented programs to attract voters at a national election on March 4.
A conservative alliance of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and its far-right allies the Northern League and Brothers of Italy, which looks set to win the most seats, has presented a shared program. The parties have also set out their individual priorities and details of their pledges.
The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, the most popular single party, has presented a 20-point manifesto, while the ruling Democratic Party (PD), which dominates the center-left coalition, has announced 100 goals.
Free and Equal is a small left-wing party formed of PD dissidents.
Following are some of the groups’ key policies.
Replace current staggered income tax rate with a single “flat tax”; abolish housing tax, inheritance tax and road tax on most cars; halt all outstanding tax litigation and give reprieves to smaller contributors who have financial problems.
Issue new, short-term Treasury bills to pay companies and individuals owed money by the state; pay less into Brussels’s annual budget; end budget “austerity”; revise EU treaties including the fiscal compact; give the Italian constitution precedence over European Union law.
Change pension rules to allow earlier retirement; raise minimum pensions; measures to reduce poverty; repatriate all illegal immigrants; block migrant arrivals through accords with countries of origin and encourage would-be migrants to stay in Africa by investing there.
- FORZA ITALIA
Respect the EU’s budget deficit ceiling of 3 percent of national output and eliminate the deficit by 2023. Bring the debt-GDP ratio near to 100 percent from its current 132 percent.
Set the flat tax rate below 23 percent. Raise minimum pensions to 1,000 euros per month. Create special pensions for mothers.
- NORTHERN LEAGUE
Set the flat tax at 15 percent. New sanctions on tax evaders including confiscating their driving licenses and passports for up to three years.
Reach agreement with European partners to leave the euro together and return Italy to a sovereign currency. Italy should leave the European Union unless fiscal rules set out in the Maastricht Treaty are scrapped.
Pay workers a minimum wage. Bring back military service.
Increase the length of time a migrant can be held in a detention center, to make deportation easier.
- BROTHERS OF ITALY
A plan in the shared program to encourage people to have more children is the first of BI’s individual pledges. Limit the number of foreign children in schoolrooms. Give Italians access to social services before foreigners.
Cut red tape by abolishing 400 laws; invest in technology; ensure monthly income of 780 euros by providing universal wage support and minimum pensions; improve job centers.
Bring down the public debt by 40 percentage points over the next decade; replace 2011 pension legislation to allow earlier retirement.
Trim privileges of politicians and well-off pensioners and reorganize public companies and agencies; hire more police and build two new prisons; work on international treaties to help repatriation of migrants; reimburse savers mis-sold investment products; separate banks’ retail and investment arms; create a public investment bank; compensation for the costs of nurseries, diapers and babysitters.
Toughen conflict of interest rules and crack down on mafia and corruption; speed up justice system; invest in renewable energy and stop using petrol by 2050; increase spending on education; create a web platform to sell Italian products internationally.
Pay families 400 euros a month per child for three years and give tax deductions until they turn 18; invest in childcare; boost minimum pensions to 750 euros after 20 years of contributions.
Cut corporate tax to 22 percent from 24 percent and social security contributions on wages to 29 percent from 33 percent; introduce a minimum wage; cut taxes for people who leave home before reaching the age of 30.
Renegotiate the EU’s fiscal compact, slow down budget deficit reduction while capping the deficit at 3 percent of GDP; reduce debt-GDP ratio to 100 percent in the next decade.
Propose the EU issue joint bonds, appoint an EU finance minister, and turn the presidency of the European Commission into an elected post; double funding for benefits for the poor.
Boost agricultural exports; invest in green energy; make schools safer and less bureaucratic; give citizenship to children of immigrants; pay men and women equal salaries; change the EU treaty which obliges frontier states to manage migrants, and block funding to countries who refuse to take them in.
Scrap a 2015 labor market reform to make it harder to fire employees; raise teachers’ salaries; abolish university tuition fees.
Aim to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2050; invest in public transport networks, healthcare, technology; focus tax cuts among people with low and middle incomes; push for a so-called Tobin Tax on financial transactions and levies on multinational companies’ profits; try to change European bank resolution rules.
Create a public fund to buy bad loans backed by real estate which can be used for social housing; increase benefits for the poor; soften pension rules to allow people to retire earlier; introduce gay marriage; give citizenship to children of immigrants; speed up justice system; cut defense spending and stop exporting arms to Saudi Arabia.
Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Hugh Lawson