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Forcing Salvini to the opposition benches could change his behaviour, says pollster

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini looks on next to Italy's Minister of Labor
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini looks on next to Italy's Minister of Labor
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Italian President Sergio Mattarella is today expected to announce whether he will permit a new coalition to form a government, staving off fresh national elections in Italy amid a delicate budget negotiation with the European Union.

It comes following two days of talks following the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday, following an effort by far-right Interior Minister, and League Party chief Matteo Salvini out of government to topple the government and usher in fresh elections.

Yet, Mr Salvini could see himself frozen out of government all together.

Lorenzo Pregliasco, founder of political research firm Quorum, told Euronews that forcing Matteo Salvini to the opposition benches could change his behavior.

"It’s possible that he [Matteo Salvini] stays with the opposition, despite his important - public opinion support. Polling before this crisis put the Liga at around 37% of votes, so he would be favored to win a huge majority of seats if we have snap elections, but it is not sure that we will have.

"So his permanent campaigning will probably be if we reach an agreement PD and Five Star will be from the opposition and so we will see how it changes his rhetoric if he’s out of government, if he’s no longer interior minister, which was a powerful position to express his very strong stance on immigration for example."

On the prospects of a recently touted coalition between the Democratic Party and the Five-Star Movement, Mr Pregliasco said that the two parties were still a long way apart on many issues to assume any agreement would be found.

"[It] would be a weird coalition to some extent, unexpected until a few days ago, when it was proposed by former prime minister Matteo Renzi because it would put together two parties which are close to each other on some issues, but also distant on other issues including views toward Europe, the job market, justice so many topics. The negotiation, we will see where they go, but certainly on a variety of issues, the two parties are quite distant, so we’ll see if they are able to put aside those differences."