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Italy's M5S leader asks for "a few more days" to form government

15 May 2018

Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and far-right League sought more time on Monday to put together a government, amid suggestions they were struggling to find a prime minister to enact their big-spending policies. He also declined to say who might be their choice of prime minister.

"We are writing what will be the government programme for the next five years and it's very important for us to finalise it as best as possible, so we have asked the president for a few more days to definitively close the discussion", Di Maio told reporters after meeting with Mattarella. They have also pledged to attempt to renegotiate European treaties. As I said it is clearly the national debt of the country that is totally out of control, it's been kept leashed because of [European Central Bank President] Draghi who has just given money for nothing at this point, and so the banks are buying the Italian bonds, but in a year or so the spread with the German bond will go up to 5-7 percent, we don't know how much.

After Mr Berlusconi refused to have anything to do with the 5-Stars, whom he regards as "more risky than communists", Mr Salvini and Mr Di Maio set out to negotiate an agreement to join forces in government. However, Mattarella warned over the weekend that he would not be a "pushover".

Both Di Maio and League leader Matteo Salvini have agreed to abandon their own ambitions to lead the government, but multiple vetoes from the two sides appear to have scotched an array of other candidates.

Salvini said "I want children not to have roofs falling on their heads", referring to a roof collapse at a school Monday.

There was speculation that the top job could be offered to Giulio Sapelli, an economist and university professor, or Giuseppe Conte, a law professor at Florence University.

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He said he and M5S leader Luigi Di Maio "are not talking about names (for premier) but discussing more constructively and even in an animated fashion about the idea of Italy".

Both Di Maio, 31, and Salvini, 45, had claimed the right to become prime minister but with neither willing to compromise, they are expected to nominate a mutually acceptable neutral figure as the next prime minister. But should no agreement be reached, new elections are likely.

Salvini's League won 17 percent of votes in March, but it was part of a right-wing alliance including Berlusconi's Forza Italia that garnered 37 percent of the vote.

The economic promises made by both parties during the campaign seem incompatible with Europe's budget rules, though investors - generally made uneasy by any prospects of fiscal slippage by governments - seemed little fazed on Monday.

They also want to scrap a 2011 pension reform and lower the age at which Italians can retire, costing around €15 billion.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Italy's M5S leader asks for