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Italian president to launch coalition talks as uncertainty reigns


Italian president to launch coalition talks as uncertainty reigns

Photo: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Today, President Sergio Mattarella will begin talks on forming an Italian government following last month’s indecisive general election.

An arrangement between the “centre-right” coalition, led by Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League, and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) has become increasingly likely. Salvini and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio have hinted at areas of cooperation, such as expelling migrants and antagonising Europe. M5S has opened up to the right-wing’s flat tax, while Salvini has warmed to increased aid for the poor.

However, Di Maio insists that as leader of the largest party he must be prime minister, while Salvini wants himself or another right-winger as his is the biggest multi-party bloc. Moreover, Di Maio has ruled out working with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, a major component of the “centre-right”. While League could leave the bloc, Salvini has opposed that idea as it would put M5S in the dominant position.

If Salvini and Di Maio cannot reach an agreement, it may fall to Mattarella to pick a prime minister. Either way, the new leader will have to guide an unwieldy coalition and fight for a majority on most votes.

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Photo: Robert Ward

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