Italian government taks stall

Italian government taks stall

ROME – Reuters
Italian government taks stall

Efforts to end Italy’s political stalemate stalled on April 13 after two days of fruitless talks, with President Sergio Mattarella saying he needed more time to try to put together a coalition government.

“I will wait a few days, and then I will evaluate how to proceed to break the deadlock,” the head of state told reporters following the second round of consultations aimed at overcoming last month’s inconclusive national election.

The anti-system 5-Star Movement emerged as the largest single party in the March 4 vote, while a conservative coalition of smaller groups, led by the far-right League, won the most seats. Both sides fell well short of an absolute majority.

The 5-Star has said it is willing to govern with the League, but has refused to link up with its ally - former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party.

The League is refusing to abandon Forza Italia, while the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which could help either bloc form a government, is insisting on staying in opposition.

“From the way the consultations have gone in the past few days, it has become evident that the political parties’ talks... made no progress,” a glum-looking Mattarella said.

The president said he had told the party leaders that Italy, the euro zone’s third largest economy, needed a fully functioning government to confront an array of problems, including international trade disputes and the growing Syrian crisis.

A senior state official said he expected Mattarella to make a move next April 16 or 17 if the parties themselves failed to find an accord between themselves.

One of his options would be to appoint a neutral figure to mediate via more informal talks than those that take place in the presidential palace.

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