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Italy’s Conte Will Reveal New Government Plan by Wednesday

Maria Ermakova

(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s premier-designate Giuseppe Conte said he plans to present a list of key ministers and a new government program to President Sergio Mattarella between Tuesday and Wednesday at the latest as he seeks to hold together a ruling coalition.

Italy’s financial markets were unsettled Friday when Luigi Di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, threatened to force early elections if his policy demands weren’t met by his new coalition partner. Conte met with senior politicians from Five Star and the center-left Democratic Party, or PD, on Saturday to broker an agreement between the parties.

Italy’s Conte Forges On in Rocky Attempt to Build Coalition

“The program is the focus at the moment, not the issue of the ministers,” Conte said in a video interview with Il Fatto Quotidiano. He will ask the leaders from the two parties “not for hard directions but for open ones, so that we could then choose the right team,” he added. “I will also work on avoiding an all-male team,” Conte said.

Five Star Movement founder Beppe Grillo endorsed the two parties’ alliance on Saturday. “We have a unique chance” to define how the country could grow, Grillo said in an online blog. He also called for the parties’ leaders to stop arguing about ministerial posts and policies.

The PD on Sunday proposed to drop having two deputy prime ministers in the new government to help the parties come to an agreement on cabinet members, PD leader Nicola Zingaretti said in a tweet. Di Maio and the League’s leader, Matteo Salvini, served as deputy premiers in the previous government.

In Saturday’s talks, Five Star secured support for proposals including a review of highway concessions, a halt to new permits for offshore oil drilling, a cut in the number of lawmakers, and measures to counter illegal immigration and tax evasion. The PD won agreement on issues including cutting the fiscal burden, averting an automatic sales tax hike in the 2020 budget, a new law on immigration, and boosting infrastructure projects.

(Updates with PD proposal in fifth paragraph.)

--With assistance from John Follain.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Ermakova in Milan at mermakova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lukas Strobl at lstrobl@bloomberg.net, James Amott, Thomas Pfeiffer

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