The leader of Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement yesterday called for early elections in June, saying efforts to form a coalition government after last month's inconclusive vote had failed.
"At this point for me there is no other solution. We have to go back to the polls as soon as possible," Luigi Di Maio said on Facebook, blaming center-left and center-right parties for refusing to negotiate with 5-Star, as reported by Reuters.
Italian politics have been in limbo since an inconclusive vote on March 4. The Democrats were the big losers in the March 4 vote, suffering the worst-ever defeat by the left. A center-right coalition of the right-wing League, the center-right Forza Italia of Silvio Berlusconi and a smaller right-wing group were the top vote-getters, with the 5-Stars coming in second place. But none of the three main blocs won enough to ensure a majority, resulting in a political impasse.
Di Maio appealed to League leader Matteo Salvini to join his call for a snap election in June. "Let's ask together to go and vote," he said.
The possibility of Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and center-left Democratic Party (PD) forming a coalition government looked doomed yesterday after senior figures from the two parties clashed. After efforts by the right and 5-Star to join forces floundered, President Sergio Mattarella asked 5-Star chief Luigi Di Maio and the center-left to discuss a possible deal.
The PD's leadership is due to meet on Thursday to decide whether to start coalition talks, but the party's outgoing head, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, said on Sunday he was against the idea, firmly reducing the chances of any pact.
"The Democratic Party lost, I resigned, seven out of 10 Italians voted for [League leader Matteo] Salvini or Di Maio. It's up to them to govern," he told RAI television, as reported by Reuters. "We cannot sneak back in by the window after the Italian people have shown us the door," Renzi added. Although he relinquished the reins of power within the PD after last month's stinging election defeat, Renzi still carries much sway within the party.
Soon after he spoke, Di Maio issued a short statement on Facebook, suggesting a deal with the PD was impossible. "Today we have seen the proof that Renzi and his outsized ego still decide everything within [the PD]," Di Maio wrote. "We have done everything to put together a government in the interests of Italians. The PD said no ... and will pay for it."
If all efforts to break the Rome stalemate fail, President Mattarella could try to put together a government of technocrats with a limited mandate, including electoral reform, to prepare for early elections in the spring of 2019. Failing that, his last option would be to call elections this autumn.
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