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Italy might hold new elections in July

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Italy might hold new elections in July
Matteo Salvini of the League with his coalition partners at the presidential palace after Italy's latest round of unsuccessful talks. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
16:03 CEST+02:00
Italy could go back to the polls in two months' time after yet another round of talks failed to produce a working government.

The Five Star Movement (M5S), Italy's single biggest party, and the League, which leads a right-wing coalition that together got the largest share of the ballot in March's general election, have suggested calling another vote as soon as July 8th.

Speaking after talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Monday, the leaders of both parties ruled out the possibility of putting a caretaker cabinet in charge to deal with Italy's most pressing matters of government, including passing the next budget.

The League's Matteo Salvini, who met the Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio as part of the consultations, said that the two had agreed upon the first Sunday in July as a date for possible elections. A summer vote would be unprecedented in Italy, where elections usually take place no later than June.

Di Maio, who like Salvini said he opposed a "president's government" of technocrats picked by the head of state, said that a second vote would effectively be "a run-off" between the M5S and the right-wing alliance.

"It's clear that there are two political realities competing to run the country and Italians will choose," he said.

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Luigi Di Maio speaks to the press after Monday's meetings. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The League's alliance topped the March 4th polls with 37 percent of the vote, while the anti-establishment M5S became Italy's largest single party with almost 33 percent.

Neither group has the numbers to form a majority government and both have been tussling for power since the election.

Di Maio has offered to forgo the prime minister's office in order to make a deal with the League, but insists that his party will not work with Salvini's coalition partner, former PM Silvio Berlusconi, who the M5S has vehemently opposed ever since it was founded. 

Salvini continued to insist on Monday that he would not drop Berlusconi or his Forza Italia party, and proposed instead that the president allow him and his partners on the right to form a minority government.   

But press reports suggest Mattarella would be unlikely to do so without guarantees a working majority could be reached. He is said to be looking for a neutral but competent figure to head a caretaker cabinet, though so far only the Democratic Party, whose share of the vote fell to just 19 percent in the last vote, has said it would support such a government.

Mattarella will continue meeting Italy's smaller parties throughout Monday. 

Meanwhile pollster Lorenzo Pregliasco said voter surveys suggested new elections would not change the balance of forces: "No one will win a majority." 

READ ALSO: The Local's introductory guide to Italian politics

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