Mattarella holds third day of crisis consultations

President to meet M5S and centre-right opposition

(ANSA) - ROME, JAN 29 - President Sergio Mattarella is set to meet the 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the parties belonging to the centre-right opposition on the third day of formal consultations on Italy's government crisis on Friday.
    On Thursday the head of state met, among others, the party that triggered the crisis in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic by pulling its support for Giuseppe Conte's executive, ex-premier Matteo Renzi's Italia Viva (IV).
    Renzi's comments after the Thursday's meeting were interpreted by many political pundits as suggesting it will be difficult for Conte to form a new government, which would be his third, with IV's support.
    Two of the parties in what was the ruling coalition, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the left-wing LeU group, told Mattarella on Thursday that they were in favour of him handing a new mandate to Conte.
    This is set to be what the M5S calls for too.
    The hypothesis of a 'Conte Ter' administration had looked to be the most likely conclusion to the crisis after Conte's effort to replace IV with 'constructor' lawmakers from outside the coalition failed, prompting the PD and the M5S to stop ruling out patching things up with Renzi.
    But the odds against a third Conte government have increased with Renzi talking about the possibility of a government of national unity, perhaps led by a figure from outside the world of politics.
    Conte, who quit as premier on Tuesday, remains at the helm of government during the crisis for day-to-day business.
    Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, said Friday that the centre right is united in calling for snap elections.
    "I read reports that the centre right is divided and it has been devastated by lawmakers changing side," Meloni told Radio Anch'io.
    "That is not how it is.
    "It seems to me that the centre right is united when it comes to taking action and we all agree on the need to have new elections.
    "I don't think that will change".
    The options for Mattarella, who as president is the arbiter of Italian politics, at the end of the consultations include giving someone a mandate to try and form a new government or calling a new round of talks. (ANSA).


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