Salvini opens up to dialogue with M5S's Di Maio
Frosty reaction from coalition ally Berlusconi
14 Marzo 2018
Rome, March 14 - League leader Matteo Salvini on Wednesday said he was open to the prospect of talking to 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio about forming a new government, an idea that drew a frosty reaction from his coalition ally Silvio Berlusconi. Salvini said that he did not have any prejudices against Di Maio when asked by the foreign press if the pair were vying with each other to be the next premier. "I don't care who wins: we have a programme and whoever comes into government with us must commit to cancelling the Fornero (pension) law, cut taxes to 15%, and make Italy more federal and less bureaucratic," Salvini said. "If there other suggestions starting from this premise we are quite happy to accept them. "On the names and roles there are now a priori prejudices, I'm interested in the project: if we agree on the project we can start talking". He stressed that he was open to proposals, but without splitting from the rest of the centre right, and reiterated that the idea of teaming up with the Democratic Party (PD) was off the table. "I strongly feel the duty to stay true to the mandate of the 12 million people who chose the centre right and the almost six million who chose the League," Salvini told the foreign press association in Rome. "We are working to give a government to this country with a centre-right programme open to enrichment, contributions and proposals, but not turned on its head. "It would be disrespectful to involve those who lost the election and, therefore, I say no to any government that has (outgoing Premier Paolo) Gentiloni, (Cabinet Secretary Maria Elena) Boschi and (Interior Minister Marco) Minniti at the centre". Salvini's League is the biggest party in the centre-right alliance that came first in the election, winning around 37% of the vote. The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) is the biggest single party in the new parliament after winning over 32% of the vote. The centre-left PD, which led the three governments of the last parliamentary term, is reeling after getting under 20%. No single party or coalition has a working majority. Asked about a possible government with the M5S, centre-right Forza Italia (FI) leader Berlusconi said that: "I opened the door in order to kick them out".