Italy Populists Close in on Government Pact, Silent on Premier

In League Matteo Salvini

Ten weeks after March's inconclusive election in Italy, the coalition government that is under formation between the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the far-right League is making a series of economic promises.

"History is being written, and of course it will take some time", Luigi Di Maio, head of the Five Star Movement, told journalists on Sunday after talks with the League in Milan.

However, coalition talks were stalled for two months as the M5S insisted the League, which led the right-wing coalition with 17 per cent of the vote, ditch Mr Berlusconi and his party.

It comes after the parties spent the weekend locked in negotiations ahead of a Sunday evening deadline set by president Sergio Mattarella.

"I am a spokesman for a coalition that does not include only the League", Salvini said after the meeting. For the composition of the government, the League and M5S must also agree on representation from the parties.

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Di Maio and Salvini will meet in Rome on Monday before updating the president.

If Mattarella endorses the candidate, programme and cabinet lineup then he could nominate a prime minister on Monday, paving the way for a government to be sworn in this week before facing a vote of confidence in both houses of parliament.

Salvini wrote in a Facebook post that he was working to cancel a pension law that raised the retirement age, to cut taxes and bureaucracy, to reduce the number of immigrants who reach Italy's coast from North Africa, "and increase expulsions".

Five Star has also called for a universal basic income scheme for the unemployed, while the League supports a flat income tax. They have also pledged to attempt to renegotiate European treaties.

If Di Maio and Salvini fail to form a government, Mattarella plans to name a non-partisan prime minister to head of what he calls "a neutral government".

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