ROME (Reuters) – The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement sought to gain the initiative as it began formal talks on Friday with the opposition Democratic Party (PD) to try to form a coalition to end Italy’s government crisis.
The euro zone’s third-largest economy is in political turmoil after its government, riven by months of infighting, imploded this week, forcing prime minister Giuseppe Conte to resign just as he was to begin preparing the 2020 budget.
President - Sergio - Mattarella - Thursday - Parties
President Sergio Mattarella on Thursday gave the parties five days to clinch a deal to avoid a snap election which would be likely to reward the hard-right League Party which pulled the plug on its year-long coalition with 5-Star.
The center-left PD and 5-Star, traditionally acrimonious foes, are now negotiating to form a new coalition and push the League into opposition. Amid mutual suspicions and gaping policy differences, each party is raising the stakes, betting that the other has more fear from a return to the polls in the autumn.
FACTBOX - Hurdles - Way - Coalition - Government
For a FACTBOX on the hurdles in way of a 5-Star/PD coalition government, click:
On Friday it was 5-Star’s turn to play hardball, with its leader Luigi Di Maio saying the talks would go nowhere unless the PD agreed to cut the number of lawmakers to 600 from 945.
PD - Reform - Parliament - Part - Reform
The PD has opposed the reform in parliament and says it will only consider it as part of a broader institutional reform that would be a long, drawn-out process.
The reduction in the number of parliamentarians was the first of 10 points 5-Star has put forward as a basis for discussion and, as the two parties’ parliamentary leaders sat down to talks on Friday, Di Maio said it was...
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