April 18, 2018 / 5:22 PM / a month ago

Italy's League sticks with old allies as deadlock reigns

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s far-right League refused on Wednesday to bow to demands from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement to ditch its electoral partner Silvio Berlusconi, as efforts to form a new government floundered.

Looking to break weeks of political deadlock following an inconclusive March 4 election, President Sergio Mattarella has asked the head of the upper house Senate to hold talks with the right and 5-Star to try to broker a coalition deal.

But after initial meetings on Wednesday, no breakthrough was seen, with 5-Star refusing to drop its refusal to work with Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party and the League resisting pressure to abandon its electoral partners in favour of 5-Star.

“If these vetoes were to fall by the wayside in the coming hours ... then we would be ready to get a government going, even next week,” senior League official Giancarlo Giorgetti said after seeing the Senate head Maria Casellati.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer

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