April 18, 2018 / 7:14 AM / a month ago

Italy president summons senate speaker to break deadlock over new govt

ROME (Reuters) - Italian President Sergio Mattarella summoned Senate speaker Maria Casellati for a meeting on Wednesday where he is expected to ask her to mediate with political parties to see if they can reach agreement on the formation of a new government.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella speaks with new elected Senate president Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati at the Quirinale palace in Rome, Italy, April 18, 2018. Italian Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

A statement from the presidential palace said Casellati, a member of the center-right Forza Italia party, would meet the head of state at 1100 a.m. (5 a.m. ET).

He will likely ask her to try to break a deadlock that has prevented the formation of a government since inconclusive elections on March 4.

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Political sources have said Casellati would then hold more flexible, less formal consultations with political leaders than those Mattarella has already held.

The European Union’s third-largest economy has been under a caretaker government since the election, when anti-establishment and far-right parties were the big winners at the expense of more mainstream groups.

Two rounds of formal consultations have failed to overcome seemingly irreconcilable positions, and the stalemate is likely to persist until regional elections later this month, according to political sources.

Reporting By Philip Pullella

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