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Italy's president gives 5-Star, League more time to clinch government deal

FILE PHOTO: Italian President Sergio Mattarella leaves after speaking to the media during the second day of consultations at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, Italy, April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italian President Sergio Mattarella has granted more time to the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the far-right League to wrap up a coalition deal, a source in Mattarella’s office said on Monday.

“The president agreed that they would get in touch when they are ready,” said the source, after the leaders of both parties met Mattarella to tell him they had not yet hammered out the details of a joint programme.

“The president has no intention of hampering the birth of a government that can last a full term of office,” the source added.

The Northern League later announced that on Saturday and Sunday it would hold an informal referendum of its members, in squares around the country, to approve any coalition deal.

Key points of the deal would include scrapping an unpopular pension reform, tougher rules on immigration, tax cuts and renegotiation of EU treaties, the party said in a statement.

The 5-Star Movement has already said it would put any accord to an online vote of its own members.

Reporting by Massimilano Di Giorgio and Crispian Balmer, writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Crispian Balmer