ROME – Italy reported the first glimpse of progress on forming a possible government after inconclusive March 4 elections, with the latest round of exploratory talks between the populist 5-Star Movement and the center-left Democrats yielding a "positive outcome."
But the path to forming a government that can win a parliamentary majority still is long and uncertain, given the Democrats are badly divided between those willing to negotiate a deal with the 5-Stars and those opposed.
The head of Italy's lower house of Parliament, the 5-Star's Roberto Fico, reported a "positive outcome" in exploratory talks with the Democrats after being tasked by President Sergio Mattarella to try to break the nearly two-month logjam.
After briefing Mattarella, Fico said talks would continue, and that the 5-Stars were awaiting official word from the leadership of the Democratic Party. Ex-Premier Matteo Renzi has insisted the Democrats must be in the opposition in any 5-Star government, but the interim Democratic head, Maurizio Martina, has expressed a willingness to negotiate.
Mattarella had asked Fico to explore a possible Democratic alliance after talks failed with the right-wing League of the center-right coalition, which together won 37 percent of the vote March 4.
The 5-Stars were the single biggest vote-getter of any party, with 32 percent. The Democrats, who are currently in a caretaker role running the government, posted the worst-ever result for the left in Italy's history.