PD, M5S mediators hold 'positive meeting'

M5S to announce House, Senate leadership candidates by Wednesday

PD, M5S mediators hold 'positive meeting'

Rome, March 12 - Despite "mediation" talks Tuesday between the 5-Star Movement (M5S) of comedian Beppe Grillo and the Democratic Party (PD) led by Pier Luigi Bersani, the two groups appeared to remain distant on certain key issues. Contrasting statements on the part of participants in the talks on the issue of who will be assigned the presidency of the lower house of parliament seemed to cast doubt on the talks' success. After the talks, the head of the M5S's caucus in the lower house said that she expected the presidency of the chamber would be offered to her group, given it is the largest single group in the chamber. "We are the largest political force in the House, so we expect that the citizens' vote will be respected," Roberta Lombardi said. However, Luigi Zanda, one of the three "mediators" for the PD in the cross-party talks Tuesday who described a "positive meeting in which the primary objectives and the need to jump-start the Parliament were shared," said that the M5S had not asked for the presidency. Zanda also said that his party would hold talks with the other main political forces regarding institutional roles later Tuesday evening. "Tonight at 7:30 pm we will meet the PdL (People of Freedom party) and we have contact with Civic Choice to meet and Thursday morning we will meet the Northern League and then draw conclusions with the center-left coalition," Zanda said. Civic Choice is the centrist coalition led by Mario Monti. Meanwhile, later Thursday Lombardi said in a video posted on the movement's website that the M5S would announce its candidates for presidency of both the Senate and House by Wednesday evening.

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