Italian parties reach deal on parliamentary speakers

Italian parties reach deal on parliamentary speakers
# 25 March 2018 01:26 (UTC +04:00)

Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement hooked up with conservative parties on Saturday to elect the speakers of both houses of parliament, but there was no sign yet they might extend this pact and form a government, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The March 4 national election ended in a hung parliament, with the 5-Star becoming the largest party and a rightist alliance, including ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party and the anti-migrant League, emerging as the biggest bloc.

After days of behind-the-scenes talks, the two factions joined forces to elect 5-Star heavyweight Roberto Fico president of the lower house and Forza Italia veteran Elisabetta Casellati president of the Senate - both highly prestigious posts.

The conservative alliance came close to collapse on Friday after the League sided with 5-Star to reject Forza Italia’s first choice for the Senate position, but hasty overnight negotiations patched up the row, at least for now.

“I am very happy, moved and proud that parliament has started to work and that the centre-right has held together,” League leader Matteo Salvini said after Saturday’s twin votes.

The election of the speakers opens the way for formal government consultations, which will be led by President Sergio Mattarella and are expected to start early next month.

Later on Saturday Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni officially handed in his resignation and that of his government to Mattarella, as normally happens in Italy when a newly-elected parliament appoints its speakers.

Gentiloni, however, will remain in place to take care of day-to-day operations until a new government is formed, the secretary of the president said in an emailed statement.