The Italian Five Star Movement (M5S) will only form a new coalition with the center-left Democratic Party (PD) if it agrees with a list of strict policy requirements, M5S leader Luigi Di Maio said on Friday.
Di Maio came up with his demands after a day of talks with the independent outgoing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who has close ties with M5S. Conte has been instructed by President Sergio Matarella to forge a new coalition between M5S and PD.
Among other things, M5S wants PD to agree on the spearheads of the movement, such as reducing the number of parliamentarians and restricting migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, which the Social Democrats have spoken out against.
"Our program items said clearly," Di Maio said at a person conference in Rome. "If they come into the coalition agreement, then we can start. If not, it is better to hold new elections, preferably as soon as possible."
The hard demands of Di Maio surprised the PD, with which his party concluded a provisional agreement earlier this week. PD Vice President Andrea Orlando described the M5S leader's statement as "incomprehensible". "Have you changed your mind? Say that clearly," he wrote on Twitter.
M5S members are speaking out
The coalition was not entirely sure yet. M5S, a populist anti-stabilization party, first wanted to present the agreement reached last week to its members. The results of the online vote must be received by the end of next week. Various M5S members expressed their disapproval in the media about cooperation with the PD. Di Maio may want to meet them by putting strict demands on the Social Democrats.
The previous government of Italy, a coalition between M5S and the right-wing party Lega of Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, fell apart earlier in August, after Salvini announced that he would no longer be able to cooperate with his partner. The Lega leader pushed for new elections. His party is currently doing well in the polls.
See also: Five-star movement and center left to form new coalition in Italy
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