Stalemate in government talks pushes Italy's Five-Star to call for snap election

Stalemate in government talks pushes Italy's Five-Star to call for snap election

"We asked the president for more time to make a contract for government", Di Maio told reporters after the talks at the Quirinal Palace.

The 5 Star leader, Luigi Di Maio, said the government would maintain budget discipline and stay within European Union rules.

Scrapping the unpopular pension reform would cost €15bn, another €12.5bn is needed to head off the planned hike in sales tax, and the parties are also considering printing a new, special-purpose currency to pay off state debts to firms, reported Reuters. According to Italian media reports, the nominee will be a "third party" belonging to neither the League or the M5S and would have worldwide authority.

Salvini said "I want children not to have roofs falling on their heads", referring to a roof collapse at a school Monday.

The progress is likely to clear the way for a coalition government formed of the two parties.

Bank of England maintains policy rate
On Friday the currency rose 0.1 percent versus the dollar at $1.3533 and increased 0.1 percent against the euro at 88.090 pence. Inflation fell faster than the BoE had expected and the economy grew at its slowest annual rate in five years in early 2018.

Luigi Di Maio of the Five Star Movement (L) and Matteo Salvini of the League.

According to reports, the parties have agreed on rolling back increases to the age of retirement, while the M5S is willing to follow the League's hardline anti-immigration policies.

Former PM Silvio Berlusconi, a leading voice in the League's "Centre-right" alliance, approved the League's negotiation with M5S, but maintained that his own Forza Italia would remain on the outside.

The opposition Democrats, who controlled the outgoing government, warn that the League's vow to drastically lower taxes to a flat 15-percent rate, and the 5-Star's promise to give government subsidies to low-income Italians will spook financial markets and drastically drive up government borrowing costs.

Having ridden a wave of populist support to 32% of the vote, the most of any party, M5S wields significant bargaining power, and the League holds the second-most seats.

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