The Wall Street Journal: Italian antiestablishment groups close to reaching coalition deal

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The leaders of Italy’s hard-right League party and antiestablishment 5 Star Movement appeared close to forming a new government, possibly clearing the way for a euroskeptic alliance to come to power in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.

If it comes to fruition, a governing coalition between 5 Star, which is one of Europe’s biggest antiestablishment parties, and the League would hand antiestablishment groups in Europe one of their biggest victories to date.

The deadlock was broken Wednesday evening when former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who ran in the elections in coalition with the League, said he would step back from any potential government. The 5 Star Movement, which ran on a clean government platform, had stridently opposed governing with Berlusconi, who has been dogged for years by scandals and has been convicted of tax fraud.

It comes more than two months after national elections produced a hung parliament. Consultations among the parties to bridge their differences and form a government had become so difficult that political leaders were talking openly this week of snap elections as soon as this summer.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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