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Italy coalition deal would collapse if no agreement on statute of limitations - Di Maio

FILE PHOTO: Italian Deputy PM Luigi Di Maio speaks at the 5-Star Movement party's open-air rally at Circo Massimo in Rome, Italy, October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - The Italian government coalition deal between the League party and the 5-Star Movement would collapse if no agreement is reached over statute of limitations measures, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio was quoted as saying on Thursday.

“We need to find (an agreement), otherwise the government contract would collapse,” Di Maio, who is also leader of the 5-Star, said in an interview with Il Fatto Quotidiano paper, in the latest sign of escalating tensions between the two ruling parties.

He also confirmed that on Thursday he would meet with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, deputy prime minister and League leader Matteo Salvini, and Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement wants to loosen time limits imposed on the prosecution of numerous crimes, including corruption.

The League says easing the statute of limitations means defendants could face unacceptably long legal battles. Five-Star says that as things stand too many cases are rubbed out without a verdict ever being reached.

Other policy differences are also straining the coalition.

On Wednesday, in order to tackle dissent within the 5-Star, the government called a confidence vote in the upper house Senate on a contested security decree championed by Salvini.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; editing by Philip Pullella