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Europe

Leftist Bersani asked to form new Italian government

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2013-03-22

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has asked Luigi Bersani (pictured), head of the country's left-wing coalition, to form a government. February’s elections produced no clear winner; the political deadlock has revived fears of new economic woes.

Italy's leftist leader Luigi Bersani was asked to form the country's next government on Friday after last month's elections left no clear winner in the eurozone's third largest economy.

President Giorgio Napolitano, who has been trying to resolve the political deadlock, called ex-communist Bersani to a meeting at 1600 GMT.

Napolitano gave Bersani a tentative mandate to investigate the possibility of forming a government after the centre-left narrowly won the February 24-25 elections, but failed to secure a majority in the upper house.

Any new government needs a majority in both houses.

The divisions between Italy’s parties over how to proceed have revived fears that Italy could plunge back into the eurozone crisis.

Should Bersani fail, the reins could either be handed to a technocratic government similar to Prime Minister Mario Monti's outgoing one, a grand coalition between left and right, or some combination of the two without Bersani.

All parties agree at least that there are urgent economic issues to be dealt with as Italy endures its longest recession for two decades.

Whatever government is formed, there will probably have to be early elections to resolve the deadlock within months, analysts said.

In a surprise move on Thursday after talks with Napolitano, Bersani appeared to indicate a willingness to work with rival Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right and suggested his party could back a cabinet led by someone other than himself.

Bersani had previously excluded a grand coalition with Berlusconi -- a scandal-tainted former prime minister involved in several court cases -- and such a move would prove hugely controversial among leftists.

Berlusconi, whose centre-right coalition came a close second in the February vote, has said his party is open to a coalition that would push economic measures enjoying broad support.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-03-22

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