Italy mulls government options after PM quits
Italy's president has begun intensive talks with political leaders to determine whether a new ruling coalition is viable after the resignation of prime minister Giuseppe Conte.
As Sergio Mattarella, who has the sole power to appoint governments and call elections, began the process, the head of one of the country's main parties signalled his willingness to explore a new parliamentary majority.
An alternative government is one of two main options after Mr Conte quit, little more than a year after taking over a populist alliance of the anti-immigrant League Party and the Five Star Movement.
The other is to set a date for a new election, which could lead to Matteo Salvini, hardline leader of the League, becoming prime minister.
Mr Mattarella is ready to give Five Star and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) time to strike a deal, although the extension would be days rather than weeks, newspaper 'Corriere della Sera' reported.
"It is now our turn to move and show the way ahead," PD leader Nicola Zingaretti said.
"We should be open to seeing if there is the possibility of a new parliamentary majority able to address the issues the country faces."
Mr Conte has declared the coalition featuring the League is dead. But he could return as the head of another majority if Mr Mattarella judges it could offer some stability.