Italian populists signal progress toward forming government

The populist leaders of the 5-Star Movement and the League say they have made progress toward forming a new government in Italy after two months of political stalemate.

League leader Matteo Salvini and 5-Star leader Luigi di Maio met face-to-face Thursday, after signaling to Italy's president that they were close to reaching a deal to form a government following the inconclusive March 4 elections that created a hung parliament.

The leaders said in a joint statement they had made "significant progress" on the composition of the Cabinet and on identifying a candidate for the post of premier to bring to President Sergio Mattarella.

After rounds of unfruitful consultations, Mattarella this week signaled he would move to form a "neutral government," something both Salvini and di Maio are determined to avoid.