Italy: Race to reach government agreement by Sunday

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Italy may be edging towards forming a new government after Luigi di Maio and Matteo Salvini indicate “significant steps forward” have been made. Fresh negotiations on Wednesday between Movimento Cinque Stelle and La Lega have given new hopes to end the nine-week deadlock.

Salvini said that the two parties have asked President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella for time until Sunday to conclude agreements. If the talks collapse the country goes to the polls, added the far-right leader.

According to Reuters a stumbling block was removed when former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, Lega’s main ally, accepted a demand from 5-Star that his Forza Italia party take no part in the next government. The Movimento has publicly said that it views the 81-year old as a symbol of political corruption.

Both parties had pledged during the electoral campaign to renegotiate fiscal rules with the EU, and La Lega wants the country to exit the Eurozone. After Thursday’s talks, Salvini said that the themes of immigration and security will be a foundational part of the government’s programme.

With Italy’s economy slowing, any new government will have to immediately work on a 2019 budget with the risk of missed deficit targets in sight.

Sources: ANSA, Reuters

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