The leader of Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement has ruled out joining a coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, a day before formal government consultations begin. Until now, Five Star had said it was ready to talk to all parties after the 4 March national election ended in a hung parliament. In an interview recorded by the La7 TV channel and not yet broadcast, Luigi Di Maio said Five Star was open to talks with the centre-left Democratic party (PD) – though not to its former secretary Matteo Renzi – and the far-right League, but not with Forza Italia, two Five Star sources said.
The move will heighten tensions between the League and Forza Italia, which are partners in a centre-right coalition that won the most seats in parliament. Forza Italia had no immediate comment.
“The coalition that won the most votes is the centre-right and this is our starting point,” the League leader, Matteo Salvini, said on Facebook. “We will dialogue with Five Star, but reject vetoes or commands.”
After the election, Five Star is the single largest party, with the PD second, but both trail the combined seat total won by League and Forza. None of Five Star, PD or the centre-right has enough seats to govern alone.