Italy’s political stalemate looks set to continue after inconclusive talks between Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s closest ally and fiercest rival.
That leaves the country still facing the risk of early elections.
After the talks, pro-Berlusconi Northern League leader, Umberto Bossi, suggested the deadlock could be resolved by Berlusconi resigning and forming a new coalition, in what he described as a “managed crisis”.
But the word from Gianfranco Fini’s camp is that the lower house speaker is sticking by the demand he made on Sunday that the prime minister step down for good.
Berlusconi is currently in South Korea for the G20 summit and nothing is likely to happen until his return.
But after a string of sex scandals his ratings have never been lower.
And even his business empire is suffering with shares in his company Mediaset losing nearly 10 per cent of their value in just two days.