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Italy to begin new round of coalition talks on Thursday

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Italy to begin new round of coalition talks on Thursday
Inside the presidential palace, where Italy's political parties will begin a second round of consultations on Thursday. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
15:23 CEST+02:00
Italy's political parties will start a new round of talks on Thursday in a bid to form a government after last month's inconclusive election.

President Sergio Mattarella will begin meeting parties separately from 10 am on April 12th, he announced on Tuesday, before consulting the speakers of Italy's two houses of parliament on April 13th. 

The first round of talks between Mattarella and Italy's main political factions last week failed to end the deadlock created by the March 4th vote, which resulted in two large blocs but no majority. 

The biggest faction, a rightwing coalition, is scheduled to meet Mattarella late on Thursday afternoon, after he first consults with smaller parties. The final session of the day is reserved for the Five Star Movement (M5S), Italy's single largest party.

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M5S leader Luigi Di Maio said he did not expect to meet representatives from the rightwing alliance ahead of the talks.

There would be "no use" meeting the head of the bloc's leading party, Matteo Salvini of the League, the Five Star leader told the Fatto Quotidiano newspaper on Tuesday. The movement insists that it won't agree to a deal with the alliance if it includes Forza Italia, the centre-right party led by Silvio Berlusconi. 

But the alliance shows no sign of dropping the former prime minister, its leaders meeting at Berlusconi's house last Sunday where they agreed to present "a common front" in the next round of talks. 

Speaking on Monday, Salvini nonetheless rated his chances of reaching a deal with the M5S at "51 percent", an estimate that Di Maio promptly revised to "zero percent". 

If the M5S continues to reject the right's proposals, Salvini told Ansa, the alliance is prepared to return to the polls.

"Let's vote, the Italians will give their vote to those they trust more and I think that will be us," he said.

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