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Last ditch effort: Italy's Conte pushes for populist-left wing alliance

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrives to speak to the media after meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrives to speak to the media after meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella   -   Copyright  REUTERS
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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has taken to Facebook to urge members of the 5-Star Movement to back a new coalition with the opposition Democratic Party.

Following the collapse of his previous government with Matteo Salvini's far-right League party, Conte is trying to stitch together a new administration with the opposition centre-left block.

His plea comes as grassroots members of Five Star will vote online today over whether to enter an alliance with long-time rivals from the PD.

"There is a unique opportunity to show we can really decisively reform this country," Conte said.

"To do this we don't need superheroes that my son likes so much. It's sufficient to have people who are normal but responsible and determined, who love their country more than anything else."

The Prime Minister, who spent the weekend negotiating potential cabinet posts, has previously stated he expects a deal to be struck by Wednesday.

He said a new cabinet should focus on a reduction in taxes, a new focus on protecting the environment, a crackdown on tax evasion and a reform of the justice system.

"Let us not let ideas fall by the wayside. This is an opportunity that we want for the country," said Conte, a law professor who has no political affiliation but is seen as close to 5-Star.