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Italy takes step towards new government

Frenzied negotiations aimed at forming a new Italian government have made some headway.

On Wednesday,  Italy’s two mainstream parties, the 5-Star Movement and Democratic Party (PD), overcame a major stumbling-block and resolved to re-install Giuseppe Conte as prime minister.

The anti-establishment 5-Star and the opposition center-left PD had entered formal coalition talks, following the collapse, earlier this month, of a governing alliance between 5-Star and the right-wing League party.

The fledgling talks had been at risk of collapse over who should be named PM but the PD confirmed on Wednesday that it had dropped its opposition to Mr. Conte, removing one big barrier to a deal.

The PD’s leader also secured the support of the party’s executive to forge an alliance with 5-Star, despite a history of bitter relations between the two political rivals.

With only hours to a Wednesday deadline, both sides have yet to agree on other top government posts or reveal a common policy agenda.

President Sergio Mattarella has asked them to report back to him on progress later in the day.

If the parties fail to strike a deal, Mr. Mattarella will be expected to name a caretaker government and call elections as early as October.