M5S's Di Maio rules out pact with League (2)

Di Battista says premier candidate speculation is 'gossip'

(ANSA) - Rome, June 19 - Lower House Deputy Speaker Luigi Di Maio on Monday dismissed speculation about his anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) forming a pact with the right-wing Northern League. "I'm from the South. I don't have any intention of being part of a movement that allies itself with the Northern League," Di Maio told State broadcaster RAI's Porta a Porta show. "What has been said about the alliances is journalistic speculation". The speculation comes after the M5S hardened its stance on asylum seekers, with Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi demanding a moratorium on new arrivals, and leader Beppe Grillo called for Roma camps to be closed.
    Di Maio also denied that the M5S, which is accused by critics of being part of the recent wave of political populism, was against the European Union.
    "Our ideas are pro-European, but of a Europe that must change from the inside," he said.
    Di Maio is frequently tipped to be a future premier candidate for the M5S, as is fellow lawmaker Alessandro Di Battista.
    However, on Monday Di Battista dismissed talk of him being a premiere candidate as "gossip" on his Facebook page.