Italy's League leader opens door to government deal with 5-Star

From Reuters - March 14, 2018

ROME (Reuters) - The leader of Italys eurosceptic League said on Wednesday a government deal with the anti-system 5-Star Movement was possible after an inconclusive election, raising the prospect of two radical groups running the country.

The March 4 vote ended in gridlock, with 5-Star and the League emerging as the top two parties in parliament, but no bloc or group securing a majority to govern alone.

Italys head of state is due to start consultations next month to try to end the stalemate in the euro zones third largest economy, with the various parties positioning themselves for potentially fraught and lengthy negotiations.

Barring the PD, everything is possible, League leader Matteo Salvini told reporters, referring to the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which was defeated after a difficult five years in office spent trying to revive the sluggish economy.

The PD itself has pledged to move to opposition ranks.

5-Star, born as a protest movement in 2009, long resisted any suggestion of forming alliances, but its leader Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday that it now wants to talk to other parties to fix a common programme.

Before we talk about who, lets talk about what, lets pursue a programme centred on the people outside the corridors of power, he said at a business association event in Milan.

Salvinis overture to the 5-Star is anathema to his coalition partner, four-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party trailed the League in the election and now plays second fiddle in their conservative bloc.


Berlusconi, who has branded 5-Star a dangerous sect, said on Wednesday he wanted a minority centre-right government with support from the PD on individual measures, Forza Italia Senator Luigi Vitale told reporters after a party meeting.

Berlusconi acknowledged that Salvini and junior coalition ally the Brothers of Italy disagreed, but said: We will convince (them), according to Vitale.

Salvini has adopted a much more hostile line towards the European Union than Berlusconi, a point that was underlined on Wednesday when he said the euro currency was not irreversible, prompting investors to dump Italian government bonds.


Continue reading at Reuters »