Italian president gives populists more time to form government

Photo of Italian president gives populists more time to form government
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A bitter row over the country’s future in the eurozone had divided populist parties

The Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, has granted Italy’s two populist leaders more time to form a government in a dramatic attempt to stave off a snap election and solve a political crisis that has engulfed the country.

Mattarella signalled he was ready to put a technocrat government in place if a deal could not be reached but decided to give the leaders of the two populist parties –Luigi Di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, and Matteo Salvini of the far right League – more time to reach an agreement on a list of ministers that could be agreed by all parties, according to a source close to the presidential palace.

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