Italian President Sets Tuesday Deadline to Find New Coalition
By Staff, Agencies
Italian President Sergio Mattarella has set a Tuesday deadline for squabbling political parties to form a workable coalition government, two days after a dysfunctional populist alliance broke up throwing the Eurozone’s third largest economy into political turmoil.
Mattarella, 78, concluded two days of crisis talks with key political players on Thursday to see if a viable coalition could be formed following the disintegration of the partnership between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement [M5S] and the far-right League.
"On Tuesday, I will hold further consultations and make the necessary decisions," Mattarella told reporters at the presidential palace.
"The crisis must be resolved in a timely manner and with clear decisions," he said.
After an intense 48 hours of political wrangling, Mattarella said a future coalition would need a specific program that could be passed in parliament.
If a coalition is not formed then Mattarella could consider a technical government or call an early election – just 14 months after the last parliamentary vote.
The crisis comes after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday following months of alliance sniping and a bid by League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to force a snap poll.
A proposed alliance between M5S and the opposition center-left Democratic Party [PD] –previously almost unthinkable after years of vicious arguments – has been gaining momentum, with official talks set to begin.
After discussions with Mattarella, M5S leader Luigi Di Maio said he was ready to negotiate for a "solid majority" in parliament.
He listed ten key policies, including a plan to slash the number of lawmakers in parliament from 950 to 605.
His party later held talks and gave official clearance for formal discussions.