Italian President holds last-ditch talks on a government

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Rome, May 7 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella on Monday began a final round of talks with party leaders aimed at forming a coalition government after the inconclusive March 4 national election led to political deadlock.

Mattarella on Monday held final talks with the conservative coalition – including Forza Italia, the far-right League party and the rightwing Brothers of Italy party – as well as with the populist Five-Star Movement, the centre-left Democratic Party and other Italian parties.

He was due to wrap up consultations with a meeting with the lower house of parliament Speaker Roberto Fico and with Senate speaker Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, according to a schedule published on the presidential palace website.

If Monday’s talks fail, Mattarella is expected to propose a transitional government, most likely led by a non-political figure. Such an executive would be tasked with approving the 2019 budget before new elections are held, probably in the autumn, according to analysts.

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Successive rounds of talks held by Mattarella, Fico and Casellati with Italy’s main political forces since the March poll collapsed amid increasingly fractious stalemate and a mesh of seemingly irreconcilable demands.

However, Forza Italia party and its coalition allies oppose a caretaker cabinet and want to try and muster a parliamentary majority, party sources told AKI after their talks with Mattarella.

Luigi Di Maio, leader of Five-Star – Italy’s largest party since the March 4 national vote – has demanded fresh elections be held in July if Mattarella fails to broker an agreement to form a viable government.

Mattarella is seeking to end two months of increasingly fractious political deadlock amid a web of apparently irreconcilable political demands after the March vote led to a hung parliament and several earlier rounds of talks collapsed.

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