Italy's center-left leader fails to form govt

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm •  Published: March 28, 2013
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MILAN (AP) — Italy remained in political gridlock Thursday after the center-left leader announced he had failed to form a government.

Pier Luigi Bersani, who has been talking with parties since Friday, expressed some bitterness when he told reporters at the president's office in Rome that he found "unacceptable" attempts by some parties to set "preclusions and conditions."

Bersani's attempt at forming a stable government able to help Italy out of recession and get Italians back to work was always a long shot. Bersani's coalition controls the lower house, but not the Senate, and inconclusive February elections gave strong voice to a protest party.

The next move belongs to President Giorgio Napolitano, who will hold a day of consultations Friday to "personally ascertain the developments possible," the president's secretary general, Donato Marra, said.

The failure makes more likely a possible technical government with a well-defined mission to take on urgent tasks, which include rewriting the election law, and push through some measures that have broader acceptance, like cutting political costs.

"I do believe now that the president will try to find a personality who is not so political as Bersani, possibly coming out of the left, and see if that person can find some sort of agreement to get the backing" from both the center-left and the center-right, said Giovanni Orsina, a professor of political science at Rome's LUISS University. "That is the only solution at the moment."

The Feb. 24-25 elections ended in a three-way gridlock with Bersani's center-left forces, former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right forces and the anti-establishment protest movement founded by comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo.

Old animosities and a hardline left wing of his party forced Bersani to rule out an alliance with Berlusconi's center-right forces — a sort of grand coalition that Napolitano clearly favored. And Grillo's 5 Star Movement made clear that it wouldn't back Bersani or any established party — despite Bersani's appeal to responsibility during a meeting Wednesday.

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