Germany says hopes Italy will soon form 'stable government'

AFP , Monday 5 Mar 2018

Luigi Di Maio
In this image taken from video, Five-Star Movement Leader Luigi Di Maio speaks to reporters as he leaves home in Rome, Monday, March 5, 2018, the day after Italy's general elections. Preliminary results released by Italy's interior ministry show the center-right coalition winning about 37 percent of the parliamentary vote and the 5-Star Movement getting about 31 percent, with the center-left coalition far behind with 23 percent. (ANSA via AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Monday wished post-election Italy success in forming a "stable government", adding that he hoped Rome wouldn't take six months as Berlin just did.

"Italy is our friend and partner, and we wish those responsible success in forming a stable government, for the benefit of Italians as well as of our common Europe," said Steffen Seibert.

A surge for populist and far-right parties in Italy's general election left the country in political deadlock on Monday with a hung parliament likely after a campaign dominated by anger against immigration.

Italian far-right leader Matteo Salvini said that his right-wing coalition had the "right and the duty" to form a government after taking 37 percent of the vote.

The coalition is short of an overall majority, however, after the populist Five Star Movement became the leading single party with 32 percent of the vote.

Asked whether Merkel would soon want to meet Luigi Di Maio of the Five Star Movement, Seibert stressed that the final result of the vote was still outstanding.

"And of course contact will be established with the next Italian government, whatever its makeup," Seibert told a regular news conference.

He was speaking a day after Germany's Social Democrats ended half a year of political paralysis in the Europe's biggest economy by agreeing in a membership ballot to form a new coalition with Merkel.

The coalition is expected to be launched next week.

Asked about any advice Germany had for Italy, Seibert said that "one wants to wish everyone that it doesn't take six months."

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