Italy’s New Populist Leaders Vow to Deliver on Campaign Promises


The mayor of Pozzallo, Roberto Ammatuna, disputed Mr. Salvini’s claim that Sicily had become “a refugee camp of Europe.” The mayor retorted, “Here there are beaches” and tourists.

The Five Star Movement became Parliament’s largest party thanks in large part to support in Italy’s underdeveloped south, where in many places the jobless rate tops 50 percent among young people.

Voters in the March election embraced Mr. Di Maio’s promise of a minimum income for the unemployed.

Campaigning in the Sicilian city of Catania for the Five Star candidate for mayor there, Mr. Di Maio, the minister of labor and economic development in the new Italian government, pledged to quickly set up employment centers to pay people without work a guaranteed monthly income of 780 euros, about $930.

The party says the income will be given only to those who try to find work. A recipient who rejects three jobs would lose the state income.

Mr. Di Maio also renewed his campaign pledge to undo changes to the pension system, which had made it possible for large number of Italians to retire in their late 50s or earlier.

Critics have said the populists’ promises, if realized, will increase Italy’s public debt to unsustainable levels.


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