Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

We need more time to agree on policies, say Italian populists

We need more time to agree on policies, say Italian populists

Salvini and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio were expected to announce a "government agreement" and a nominee for prime minister following negotiations over the weekend, but on Monday Di Maio revealed that more work was needed on the deal and that no names would be made public.

President Sergio Mattarella, the supreme arbiter of Italian politics, reminded the parties in a speech on Saturday that the constitution gives him the final word on nominating a premier and he is not obliged to accept their recommendation.

"We are making an enormous effort because if I was only thinking in terms of political, party and personal convenience, we would have left a long time ago", Mr. Salvini said at the Monday news conference at the president's Quirinal Palace.

The details of the accord with The League would.

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Mr Mattarella summoned Mr Di Maio and League leader Matteo Salvini for an update more than 10 weeks after an inconclusive parliamentary election.

The 5Star leader also said that, once (or maybe if) finalized, the government contract will be put to an online vote of the party's supporters.

Any deal would be aimed at satisfying both Mr Di Maio's and Mr Salvini's largely different constituencies.

M5S leader Luigi Di Maio speaks to press after meeting with Italy's president. The two agreed to seek a deal between themselves last week after all other options dried up.

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Mr Salvini's appointment with Mr Mattarella was set for early Monday evening.

But Salvini said disagreements were more about policy than personalities.

The 5-Star/League coalition would have only a narrow majority in the upper house and, with its 18 senators, Brothers of Italy's support would make the bloc less vulnerable to possible defections. The alliance would be a huge challenge to Brussels and will be the first time a founding member of the European project has elected a populist government.

The 5-Star Movement, which bills itself as an anti-establishment force, became the Italian parliament's largest party, winning some 32% of the vote in the March 4 election.

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After Mr Berlusconi refused to have anything to do with the 5-Stars, whom he regards as "more unsafe than communists", Mr Salvini and Mr Di Maio set out to negotiate an agreement to join forces in government. The north's legions of small, often family-run businesses are the backbone of Italy's most productive region.

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