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Election: centre left still in turmoil over alliances

SI, Greens may look to M5S after PD-Azione pact

(ANSA) - ROME, AUG 4 - Turmoil over alliances in view of the September 25 general election continued on centre-left side of Italy's political spectrum on Thursday.
    Tension is high after Nicola Fratoianni of the Italian Left (SI) and Angelo Bonelli of the Green Europe (EV) groups decided not to go ahead on Wednesday with a meeting with centre-left Democratic Party (PD) leader Enrico Letta.
    SI and EV had asked for a meeting to assess whether an alliance was still viable after Letta sealed a pact on Tuesday with the centrist Azione party of former industry minister Carlo Calenda.
    Calenda has said a future centre-left government should continue with the policies adopted by outgoing Premier Mario Draghi's executive and called for neither Fratoianni nor Bonelli to be candidates for the coalition in seats decided on a uninominal (first-past-the-post) basis.
    Fratoianni and Bonelli expressed "unease" following the PD-Azione pact and said they needed time for "more reflection" before meeting Letta.
    "If we have Draghi's agenda, I'm not up for it," added Fratoianni.
    The PD-Azione pact looked to have boosted what are widely considered to be the centre left's outside chances of defeating the right/centre-right coalition in the election.
    But with the PD wanting to put together a very broad alliance to maintain those hopes of victory, the step forward made with the Azione deal may have come at the cost of losing SI and EV as allies.
    The PD is a close second to Giorgia Meloni's right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, the only major group that did not support Draghi's government of national unity, in the polls at around 22-23%.
    But support levels of the right/centre-right as a whole, which also features Matteo Salvini's League and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI), appear to put it in a strong position for victory.
    This is especially the case as the PD has ruled out running with the 5-Star Movement (M5S) after it triggered the crisis of government that led to the collapse of Draghi's ruling coalition.
    Azione and +Europa currently have the support of around 5-7% of the electorate, according to polls.
    Running as partners, EV-SI have the support of around 4% of the electorate, according to a recent poll.
    With SI-EV possibly turning back on the alliance with the PD, there has been speculation that they could seek to strike a deal with the M5S, who had been expected to run alone.
    However, M5S leader Giuseppe Conte on Thursday warned that "Bonelli mustn't use us to be able to negotiate with the PD".


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