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President Sergio Mattarella held a third round of formal political consultations on Monday but there was no sign of a breakthrough to end the gridlock that followed Italy’s inconclusive election in March. An election during the summer holiday season would be a first for Italy. The M5S, the biggest single party in parliament after the last election, said it would not support a interim ‘government of the president’ featuring all the major parties.

League chief Matteo Salvini and 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio said Monday that a new general election should be held on July 8 if it is not possible to reach a deal to form a new government. “As promised I will work to give a government to the country and I will try to knock down the vetoes on one side and the other right until the end,” Salvini said. “If this should not happen, the soonest date to vote is Sunday July 8. Di Maio agrees on the date too”. The M5S leader confirmed this after a meeting with Salvini.

It also reiterated its opposition to forming a government with the centre-right alliance as a whole, the coalition that won the most votes in March, saying it was only willing to negotiate with the anti-migrant, Euroskeptic League. Salvini has called for him to be given a mandate to try to form a government, but Mattarella looks unlikely to grant this, as it is unclear how the centre right could have a working majority in parliament. The centre right is also against the idea of an interim government of the president.

The centre-left Democratic Party, which slumped to its worst-ever showing in March, has said it will not back a government led by the M5S or the centre-right. So far it is the only group to say it would support a ‘government of the president’.

5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio said Monday that the anti-establishment group considered the new election campaign to be open after he agreed with League chief Matteo Salvini that a new vote should be held on July 8 if a deal for a new government is not possible. “As of today we are on the election campaign trail and we will go out and tell you about two months of lies,” Di Maio said referring to the period since the inconclusive March 4 vote.

League leader Matteo Salvini said Monday that the next Italian election will be a showdown between his anti-migrant, Euroskeptic party and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S). “The M5S are a bit wobbly, a bit here and a bit there,” Salvini said on Facebook.

“The next vote will be a referendum – or us or them”. He added that, for an deal on a government to be possible to avert the need for a new election, either the M5S had to drop its demand for the League to dump its coalition partner, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, or the latter had to “take a step sideways”. “I can’t do miracles,” Salvini said.

Source Ansa, TgCom 24