Italy's center-right leaders in show of unity ahead of vote

Italy's center-right leaders in show of unity ahead of vote”

Two nuns walk past electoral posters of Italian League leader Matteo Salvini in downtown Rome, Italy, on February 28, 2018.

Even if the pundits are proved right and the Berlusconi coalition is successful in forming a government, it will likely be a coalition backed by the anti-immigration Northern League and the Brothers of Italy, a party widely considered the heir to Italy's fascist movement.

"This is not a shadow of government but a government in the light of day for Italians".

Created in 2009 by former comedian Beppe Grillo and late web entrepreneur Gianroberto Casaleggio, the Five Star Movement has benefited from widespread disillusionment and anger at Italy's traditional political elites. "We are doing something that has never been done before", prime ministerial candidate Luigi Di Maio said at an event in Rome.

Elisabetta Trenta, a lecturer in security and intelligence, was chosen to be defence minister and swimming champion Domenico Fioravanti as sport minister.

Forza Italia and the League, the two parties within the rightwing coalition destined to pick up the most votes, are battling to come out on top in order to control who will choose the coalition's prime ministerial candidate.

European Parliament president said he had accepted Silvio Berlusconi's invitation. The three-time premier told State broadcaster RAI that, if his centre-right coalition fails to win a working majority in parliament, "we'll vote (again) as soon as possible with this election law, hoping that the Italian people will have understood who to vote for to have a government that will change Italy for the better".

The rally passed off peacefully despite a counter-protest by leftist campaigners nearby and clashes between the two sides in the past.

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