Italian leader hopes 2018 campaign will avoid fear-mongering

Premier Paolo Gentiloni says it would be in Italy's best interest "to limit as much as possible the diffusion of fear" during the campaign for elections in the coming months.

Gentiloni in his year-end news conference on Thursday said that while the world is full of risks "the more we have an election campaign that veers from the easy sale of fear, the better it will be for the country."

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, is expected later Thursday to dissolve parliament, a formal step toward new elections.

The Democratic Party-led government has survived its full five-year term but with three premiers. Enrico Letta was ousted in a political maneuver by Matteo Renzi, who in turn resigned after a failed referendum, ceding the government last year to Gentiloni.