ROME (Reuters) – Opposition leader Nicola Zingaretti told Italy’s president on Wednesday that his Democratic Party (PD) was ready to try to form a government with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.
Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti speaks to the media next to the party leadership members Paolo Gentiloni and Andrea Marcucci in the Presidential Palace after consultations, in Rome, Italy, August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Ciro de Luca
Speaking after talks with President Sergio Mattarella, Zingaretti told reporters his party was also ready to accept the 5-Star candidate for prime minister — the current premier Giuseppe Conte.
“We love Italy and we consider it worthwhile to try this experience,” said Zingaretti. “In difficult times like these, shunning our responsibility to have the courage to try this is something we cannot afford.”
The two parties have been inching towards forming an coalition despite years of mutual hostility, as they sought to avoid snap elections that could favor the hard-right League party.
Its leader Matteo Salvini collapsed the previous coalition alliance with 5-Star earlier this month after prolonged infighting.
The prospect of a new government led by Conte, an academic who has no political affiliation but is considered close to the 5-Star, has buoyed markets, which are betting that Italy will avoid snap elections.
Italy’s 10-year bond yield fell to a record low below 1%, two-year bond yields fell to their lowest since May 2018 at -0.22% IT2YT=RR and Italy’s 50-year bond yield fell to a record low around 2.266% IT50YT=RR.
Investors fear early elections would be won by Salvini’s hard-right League party, which could put Rome on a collision course with the European Union over expansionary government spending.
GRAPHIC: Italian government scenarios – here
Additional reporting by Valentina Consiglio, Gavin Jones and Crispian Balmer in Rome; Editing by Jon Boyle