Italian President Sergio Mattarella asked lower house Speaker Roberto Fico to find out whether the anti-establishment Five Star Movement could govern with the center-left Democratic Party, in the latest attempt to break a seven-week impasse.
The head of state appointed 43-year-old Fico, from Five Star, to hold talks on his behalf and report back to him by Thursday. Senate Speaker Elisabetta Casellati last week failed to broker a deal between Five Star and the center-right alliance after a similar mandate from Mattarella.
“I’ll start work immediately, and for me a fundamental point is that we should start from issues and a program in the country’s interests,” Fico told reporters after being appointed by Mattarella.
The 76-year-old president is trying to forge a consensus on who should lead the next Italian government after the March 4 election left the legislature divided between three main blocs. With the voters angered by years of economic malaise and a wave of immigration from North Africa, none of the party leaders have yet indicated they are ready to make the compromises required to strike a deal.
Matteo Salvini, head of the anti-migrant League and the broader center-right movement, said his chances have been boosted by victory in Sunday’s regional elections in Molise, a mountainous region of 300,000 southeast of Rome.
A center-right pact including the League and a host of small local parties beat Five Star by 44 percent to 39 percent, despite the fact that Five Star won the most support in last month’s general election.