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Italy's League and Five Star Movement pledge to get parliament working ASAP

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Italy's League and Five Star Movement pledge to get parliament working ASAP
Matteo Salvini (L) and Luigi Di Maio. Photo: Filippo Monteforte, Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
18:57 CEST+02:00
On the eve of a second round of coalition talks, the leaders of Italy's two driving political parties said they would work towards establishing a functioning government as soon as possible.

After a telephone call on Wednesday between Luigi Di Maio, head of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), and the nationalist League party's Matteo Salvini, the two said they had agreed on a chair for the special committee of Italy's lower house, "in a spirit of cooperation to get parliament operational as soon as possible". 

Their deal will see a member of the League, Nicola Molteni, elected to the head of the Chamber of Deputies' special committee, which is responsible for urgent government acts.

A Five Star senator, Vito Crimi, chairs the equivalent committee in the Senate, after a similar agreement between the M5S and League. 

A second round of consultations between Italy's main political parties and President Sergio Mattarella begins on Thursday morning, after the first talks failed to end the deadlock left by last month's inconclusive election.

READ ALSO: Who is Italian President Sergio Mattarella? The man guiding Italy through rocky government talks

Who is Italian President Sergio Mattarella? The man guiding Italy through rocky government talks
Sergio Mattarella pictured during government consultations in early April. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Di Maio had indicated that he did not expect to speak to Salvini before then, having ruled out forming any coalition that includes the League's ally, the Forza Italia party led by Silvio Berlusconi.

Salvini said that he was the one to make the first move on Wednesday, writing on Facebook that he had called Di Maio "to speed up get the Chamber and Senate working". 

But he added that his rightwing alliance, composed of the League, Forza Italia and the smaller conservative party Brothers of Italy, would head to their meeting with Mattarella "united". 

READ ALSO: What to expect from Italy's government talks

The M5S has shown no sign of dropping its opposition to Forza Italia, with a senior member of the movement describing Berlusconi today as "the absolute evil of our country". 

The four-time prime minister is an obstacle to progress and social justice, said Alessandro Di Battista, one of the most prominent Five Star MPs.

The M5S has made overtures to the Democratic Party, the centre-left group thrown out of power by the March 4th vote, as an alternative coalition partner. While the party's leaders insist they will remain in opposition, some of its members have indicated they might be open to governing with the M5S. 

Salvini, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that he was willing to talk to anyone, but advised Di Maio to "come down off the pedestal and stop saying 'me, me, me'". 

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