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Italy's 5-star members back coalition program with League in online vote

FILE PHOTO: Anti-establishment 5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio speaks following a talk with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, Italy, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - More than 90 percent of supporters of Italy’s 5-Star Movement have backed a program for government drawn up by the group and the far-right League, its prospective coalition partner, in an online vote.

The 40-page document calls for billions of euros in tax cuts, additional spending on welfare for the poor, and a roll-back of pension reforms.

It is seen by the two anti-establishment parties as the basis for governing for an entire five-year legislative term.

5-Star and the League are close to forming a coalition government after 11 weeks of political stalemate in the euro zone’s third-largest economy following a March 4 election in which they won the most parliamentary seats.

5-Star asked its members on Friday to approve, through an online ballot, the “contract” the two parties have drawn up.

“More than 94 percent of members of the 5-Star Movement have said yes to contract for the ‘Government of Change’!”, said a statement by leader Luigi di Maio on Friday evening.

He added that there had been “great participation” with 44,796 people casting votes.

Both parties will consult their wider electorates during the weekend, with gazebos set up in the main Italian squares.

League leader Matteo Salvini and Di Maio will meet Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella on Monday. Mattarella must give his blessing to their program for governing and has a final say on the name of the prime minister and the cabinet, both yet to be named, before a government can be formed.

Reporting by Gavin Jones and Giulia Segreti; Editing by Catherine Evans