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The Debate

Italy's coalition surprise: Can Five-Star/centre-left alliance work?

"Politics makes strange bedfellows," goes the saying. Just ask Italians. Outgoing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has been summoned by the president to stay on after the populist Five-Star Movement struck a deal with former foes from the big mainstream formation, the Democratic Party. How can Cinque Stelle swing from an alliance with the far-right to the centre-left?

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It turns out that both parties have big tents with factions that see this as heresy... and others a not-so-unholy alliance. Supporters of the deal agree first and foremost to stave off early elections which far-right leader Matteo Salvini had hoped to trigger.

As tough-talking, social media-friendly interior minister and deputy prime minister, the junior partner in the previous coalition overshadowed Five-Star. But did the Lega leader overreach when he triggered what he thought would be snap elections? More broadly, after 14 months of populism, with unpopular choices ahead on taxes and spending, what do Italians really want?

Produced by Andrew HILLIAR, Juliette LAURAIN and Ingri BERGO.

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