In Brief

Italy faces fresh elections as negotiations stall

Political deadlock continues after coalition talks break down

Italy is facing the prospect of fresh national elections after the third round of official negotiations to form a functional coalition government failed.

Italian president Sergio Mattarella called an end to formal talks on Monday, more than two months after national elections resulted in a hung parliament.

Mattarella has signalled that there are two options left for Italy – fresh national elections, or the installation of a neutral caretaker government until the end of the year, to allow parties to negotiate the end of the political deadlock that has crippled the Italian government.

“We can’t wait any longer,” he said. “Let the parties decide of their own free will if they should give full powers to a government... or else new elections in the month of July or the autumn.”

The 4 March election resulted in a three-way split of influence in the Italian parliament. The centre-right League coalition which includes Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia group won about 37% of the vote, followed by the Five Star Movement on around 32%. The centre-left Democratic Party came in third.

Mattarella has since tried “various combinations among the parties in an effort to find a coalition that could secure a parliamentary majority”, says The Wall Street Journal.

The two “most influential parties, Five Star and The League, favour a new vote in July”, says the BBC.

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