The Latest: Italy’s president proposes ‘neutral’ government

The Latest on Italian politics (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

Italy’s president has proposed that the country’s deadlocked political forces back a “neutral” government to rule until the end of the year, saying there was no hope for any political alliance and that Italy can’t wait any longer for leadership.

More than two months after inconclusive a March 4 election, President Sergio Mattarella urged political leaders to back the government until at least the budget is passed, and warned that calling elections before 2019 would expose Italy to undue risks.

Mattarella didn’t propose any names for the “neutral” government, but he stressed that its leaders wouldn’t be allowed to run in the election next year.

A clearly frustrated head of state said: “I hope that various forces have a positive response by assuming their responsibilities in the interests of Italy.”


12:10 p.m.

The head of the center-right coalition that won the most votes in Italy’s inconclusive March 4 election is urging Italy’s president to give the alliance a mandate to try to find a parliamentary majority.

League leader Matteo Salvini emerged from the latest round of consultations Monday insisting that the bloc best represented the will and hopes of Italians. Salvini was flanked by ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi and Georgia Meloni of the small right-wing Brothers of Italy party, whose conservative forces together won 37 percent of the vote.

The populist 5-Star Movement, which won 32 percent, once again urged Salvini to form an alliance with them. Salvini has refused the League’s demand that he ditch Berlusconi.

5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio, meanwhile, vowed to reject any “technical” government proposed by President Sergio Mattarella.