Italian politicians try to keep election, Salvini, at bay

Italian Deputy-Premier and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, arrives for a meeting in Rome, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. Italy could see elections as early as this fall after Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte resigned amid the collapse of the 14-month-old populist government. Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League party sought a no-confidence vote against Conte earlier this month, a stunningly bold move for the government’s junior coalition partner. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)

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ROME (AP) — Some Italian political leaders are trying for a deal to keep at bay elections and right-wing League leader Matteo Salvini, who’s rising in popularity.

The maneuvering Wednesday comes a day after Giuseppe Conte resigned as premier, blaming Salvini’s break with the populist coalition in a bid to trigger early elections and become premier himself.

The opposition Democrats, long squabbling among themselves, seem united now in efforts to keep Salvini from gaining power.

Democratic leader Nicola Zingaretti brushed off Salvini’s suspicions that the Democrats were aiming for “some little, under-the- table deal” with the 5-Star Movement, which had governed together with the League until Conte’s 14-month-old coalition collapsed.

Salvini said any government formed now would be “a government against the League.”

Ultimately, Italy’s president must decide if early elections are needed.

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