Italy's president seeks way out of political crisis

Italian President Sergio Mattarella urged on Thursday political parties to reach a deal to form a new coalition government in the next few days if they want to avoid snap elections, news wires reported. He began consultations to find a new government after PM Giuseppe Conte quit accusing League party leader Matteo Salvini of endangering the economy for personal and political gain in a blistering resignation speech.

Mattarella met delegations from the opposition centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the 5-Star party. Usually political enemies, they have already begun backroom discussions about forging a governing alliance. Both parties fear Salvini, whose anti-EU and anti-immigration stance has won him support in opinion polls at their expense, could score a major victory if polls were held now.

Salvini has called for fresh elections, aiming to return to power as PM with a mandate to launch a big spending spree next year and challenge the EU's fiscal rules.

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