Italy’s Five-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio calls for snap elections after coalition talks fail

Luigi Di Maio, leader of the Five-Star Movement, attends a meeting with foreign press, on March 13, 2018 in Rome. (Photo by AFP)
The anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, a major force in last month’s inconclusive vote in Italy, has called for snap elections after efforts for forming a coalition government failed.
Five-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said Monday that there was no option for Italy to have a functioning coalition government other than a return to snap elections which he said should come in June.
“At this point for me there is no other solution. We have to go back to the polls as soon as possible,” Di Maio wrote on his Facebook page.
Di Maio, whose movement was the biggest single party emerging from last month’s vote, said Italy’s center-left and center-right parties were responsible for the current political limbo in the country as they refused to enter in a coalition with Five-Star.
A coalition of center-right led by the anti-immigrant League won the most seats in the parliamentary election but the party’s leader Matteo Salvini has refused to abandon his electoral ally Forza Italia, led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, to join a coalition government with Five-Star.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right party League, leaves after a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on the second day of consultations of political parties, on April 5, 2018 at the Quirinale palace in Rome. (Photo by AFP)
Matteo Renzi, the former leader of center-left Democratic Party (PD), also refused Di Maio’s appeal last week for establishing a coalition. Renzi, a former prime minister, urged PD members ahead of a party meeting set for Thursday to decide whether to enter Five-Star talks to shun the anti-establishment party.
“The Democratic Party lost, I resigned, seven out of 10 Italians voted for Salvini or Di Maio. It’s up to them to govern,” said Renzi, whose party came a distant third in the March elections.  
Italian President Sergio Mattarella has rejected the idea of a swift return to elections as a way of ending the current political impasse.
He has made it clear that if parties reach a political consensus on snap polls, then the elections could come in the fall as it would probably be impossible to organize the polls at this late stage. In that case, Mattarella would continue his efforts to form a non-political unity government that could work on electoral reforms.

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