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Berlusconi urges Italy's president to call early elections

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Berlusconi urges Italy's president to call early elections


Opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi says he has asked Italy’s president to call early elections as soon as possible to resolve the country’s political crisis. The conservative former prime minister met Giorgio Napolitano on the head of state’s final day of crunch talks with political leaders.

Berlusconi rejected calls to first revise electoral laws blamed for creating political instability. Arguing that previous efforts to reach an agreement on reform had failed, he said:

“When a country needs a real government to govern right now, how can we think about leaving it suspended, looking for something on which there is not the slightest possibility today of reaching a common accord.”

But the Mayor of Rome disagres, saying reform is possible. Walter Veltroni, widely tipped as the centre-left’s next candidate in an eventual election, wants to see an interim government.

He has suggested to the president waiting until June or even spring next year for a ballot, to allow the electoral system to be changed.

Left-leaning Prime Minister Romano Prodi resigned last week amid rowdy scenes in the Senate. He was defeated in a vote of confidence after losing his majority.

Opinion polls indicate an early election would return Silvio Berlusconi to power.

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