Five Star, Northern League close in on coalition 6 weeks after election

President Sergio Mattarella

- In Italy, the anti-establishment 5-Star movement and the anti-immigrant League now seem likely to form the next government.

Salvini, who has mostly campaigned on an anti-immigration platform, could potentially take the role of interior minister with Di Maio as foreign minister.

The yield on the 10-year Italian note was higher Tuesday, reaching 1.7810 percent by 7:30 a.m. London time after closing at 1.763 percent on Monday. Instead, his party was overtaken by the League, handing Salvini control of their center-right alliance, the biggest group in the legislature.

Italy's president says the country will need to hold a fresh vote if bickering political parties can not work together.

A question mark still hangs over who would clinch the top spot in a M5S-League coalition - Both Di Maio and Salvini have said they are willing to step back and let someone else take the premiership but, according to the press, neither has completely given up on their ambitions to lead the country.

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"That means we would see a run-off between the League and the 5-Star Movement, which could result in a clearer victor and an end to the political deadlock". He added: "We would not impose vetoes or pre-conditions".

Berlusconi, 81, had been the stumbling block in earlier negotiations between the League and M5S, with the four-time ex-prime minister seen as a potent symbol of the corruption they have campaigned against. He said his party would "loyally support" laws in line with the center-right's program.

Lina Palmerini, analyst at the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, said Mattarella has few options, warning: "If parliament rejects the president's government, the situation will be very hard".

"We are continuing to ask Berlusconi to make a gesture of responsibility and help us give this country a government", said senior League politician Giancarlo Giorgetti, indicating he wanted Forza Italia to agree to sit out of a government deal. "Investors may not trust such a government and fear that debt would rise", said IG Markets analyst Vincenzo Longo.

A clearly frustrated Mr Mattarella has tried for weeks to break the stalemate but various proposals for alliances failed, primarily after Mr Salvini refused to abandon his partnership with Mr Berlusconi to enter into a coalition with the 5-Star.

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"In a tweet, the leader of the 5-Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio said: "[We have] No faith in a "neutral" government, which is synonymous with a government of technocrats. Berlusconi himself is barred from holding public office until next year because of a 2013 tax-fraud conviction.

Both Five Star and the League are pressing for an election in July.

"In this case we certainly can't give a confidence vote, but we will evaluate in a serene and unprejudiced way the operation of a government that might come about", he said.

The president will be attending a conference in Florence all day on Thursday, then flying straight to Sicily for another gathering, returning to Rome at lunchtime Friday.

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