Italy's two populist parties have shown they can find common ground in the first test of a possible political alliance, but experts believe a coalition government formed of Lega (League) and the Five Star Movement (M5S) would ultimately have a "short shelf life."
The two parties' leaders managed to come together Friday to reach a deal to elect the speakers of both the upper (the Senate) and lower houses (the Chamber of Deputies) of parliament.
Luigi Di Maio, the anti-establishment M5S party leader, put forward Roberto Fico to be elected as speaker of the lower house. And in return for its support for Fico, the center-right coalition led by Lega (the biggest party in the alliance), former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and Fratelli d'Italia (and the smaller Noi con L'Italia) got their choice of Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati - a member of Forza Italia and confidante of Berlusconi - elected as Senate speaker.
Italy held a general election on March 4 but no one party or coalition gained enough of the vote to govern alone. M5S was the single largest party, with 32 percent of the vote, but the center-right coalition got 37 percent, meaning that a period of intense negotiation is due to start to see if a coalition government can be formed.
The election shocked Europe as M5S and Lega, which both ran on an anti-establishment, populist message, performed well while the former ruling Democratic Party did badly.