Romano Prodi says he has already started talks on the formation of a new centre-left Italian government, rejecting a call for a German-style grand coalition by the outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. “It’s our responsibility to show that we’re capable of governing, even with a slim majority,” said Pierro Fassino, one of the party leaders in Prodi’s alliance. “We will have debates like all parliaments do, and if we can join up with the opposition we’ll do that. But if the conditions aren’t right, it’ll be us, the majority, who govern.”
Silvio Berlusconi is contesting Prodi’s razor-thin election victory. He said: “If we really want to move forward with a country that’s not divided, with a parliament that has no majority and an opposition that puts up barricades, and a country seen as united, I believe it’s time to follow the example of other European countries such as Germany and unite the different forces to govern with consensus.”
Romano Prodi has said it is likely he will only be able to form a new government in the middle of next month, once a new Italian president has been elected. A review of the election results is expected to be completed by Friday.