Italy's League seeks stable government, hopes for 5-Star deal

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After two days of talks in Rome, the Italian president said no political force had garnered enough support to sustain a stable government. Berlusconi said FI party was unwilling to govern with "populists" after last month's inconclusive general election.

The ballot, seen as a political quake, handed large gains to the far-right League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), and handed a historic defeat to the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).

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Even as both 5-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio and right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini pledged to open their own coalition talks with other political groups, President Sergio Mattarella did not formally tap either yet to form a new government.

Di Maio and Salvini staked their competing claims based on the fact that the 5-Star Movements was the party with the most votes in the March 4 election - 32 percent - while the center-right bloc that Salvini heads is the strongest political force, with 37 percent of the vote.

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However, in a clear reference to the Five Stars, Berlusconi, Salvini's coalition ally, said his party would not take part in "governments of populism and hate" that would spark a "recessive spiral" and "a chain of bankruptcies, including in the banking sector".

The second day of the two-day consultation process began at 0800 GMT on Thursday with the Democratic Party, whose center-left coalition came third with just under 23 percent of the vote.

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Mattarella has no deadline to break the impasse but if he concludes that no government deal is possible, he has the power to dissolve parliament and call new elections, possibly in late 2018.

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