There has been a full display of pomp and pagentry in Rome as Italy marks the 68th anniversary of its Liberation Day.
But leading politicians have been keeping the champagne on ice with intense talks underway over the formation of a new government.
The nominated prime minister, centre-left Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta, is said to have telephoned Silvio Berlusconi already as he seeks to unite Italy’s bitterly divided factions.
The centre-right leader has already made clear the price for his support will be his party holding the post of Justice Minister.
However, Letta’s more difficult task will be to persuade the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement to come on-board. Its leader Beppe Grillo has said he wants no party in any coalition.
Nonetheless, Letta, 46, reportedly said he feels things are “improving, whereas at the start he felt desperate”.
That belief is supported by one opinion poll for Italian state television which estimated he will enter office with a 43 percent approval rating.
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