Sunday 25 February 2018

Italian president rules out forcing new vote

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano yesterday ruled out standing down early to make way for new elections, following the failure of attempts to form a coalition.

Mr Napolitano, whose term ends on May 15, spoke after reports suggested he might quit to get around constitutional provisions that prevent a president dissolving parliament and calling elections in the final months of his mandate.

The 87-year-old said he would continue his efforts to break the deadlock since inconclusive elections last month that left no group able to form a government.

He yesterday named 10 outside experts to try to help end the gridlock that has prevented the formation of a government more than a month after inconclusive elections.

The 10 "wise men" will come up with proposals over the next week touching on "institutional, socio-economic and European" measures in hopes of reaching a consensus across Italy's bitterly divided political blocs.

President Giorgio Napolitano's decision to look to outsiders came after Pier Luigi Bersani, whom Mr Napolitano had tapped to try to form a government, announced on Thursday he had failed to obtain consensus.

Italy's February elections ended in a three-way gridlock with Mr Bersani's centre-left forces, former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right forces and the anti-establishment protest movement founded by comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo.

Analysts say Mr Napolitano will most likely ask a figure outside of partisan politics to put together a government that can last long enough to enact economic and electoral reform before new elections are called.

Irish Independent

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