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Italy: Coalition talks nearing end as populist parties look to nominate PM

Italy's anti-establishment 5 Star Movement and the far-right League moved closer to forming a coalition government and nominating a prime minister. The populist parties are expected to announce their decision on Monday.

The euroskeptic Five Star Movement (M5S) and the anti-migrant League made progress in talks to form Italy's next government, according to party leaders and media reports on Sunday.

The two prior rivals have been locked in negotiations since Thursday to combine their differing election platforms and have come to an agreement on their nomination for prime minister.

Where coalition talks stand

  • The parties have agreed their government program and will present their nomination for prime minister to Italy's president on Monday, reported press agency AGI.
  • "It has been a very productive day," M5S head Luigi Di Maio told reporters following coalition talks in Milan with the League.
  • Matteo Salvini, the head of the League, said the parties made progress in agreeing plans to cut taxes, increase welfare and boost efforts to stop irregular immigration.
  • If their coalition talks succeed, they will be the first anti-establishment government in Italy as well as in western Europe.
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Who could be the next prime minister?

No names of potential candidates have been mentioned so far. However, neither Di Maio nor Salvini want the other to become Italy's next premier.

The leaders have been trying to find a "neutral" candidate with no allegiance to either party to lead the government.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella reminded the parties on Saturday that the constitution grants him the final say over nominating the next premier and that he doesn't have to accept their recommendation.

Read moreItalian President Sergio Mattarella calls for 'neutral government'

Why are they working together? In the March 4 vote, M5S garnered 32 percent of the vote while the League-led right-wing coalition managed garnered a combined 37 percent. Both sides failed to reach the 40 percent necessary to govern.

M5S agreed to work on forming a coalition with the League if they dropped their alliance partner Forza Italia — a party led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Last Wednesday, Berlusconi said he wouldn't prevent the parties from forming a government.

What do the parties want? Both parties are euroskeptic and reject what they view as Brussels' budget limitations. They also both want to hold a referendum on Italy's membership in the Eurozone. The League is also a proponent of hardline immigration policies.

Read moreOpinion: Italy's uncertain political future

What happens next? The parties will present their agreement and prime minister nomination to the president on Monday. If the president accepts the nomination for prime minister, the post could be filled within days.

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rs/aw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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