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.