Italian MPs return to parliament today to try to end a political stalemate preventing the election of a new president. The winner of last month’s general election, centre-left leader Romano Prodi, cannot form a new government until a president is chosen. Yesterday the centre-right, led by outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, refused to back Prodi’s preferred candidate Giorgio Napolitano. Prodi is hopeful that will change in the next round of voting.
“I hear the centre-right bloc is holding talks and I hope that will bring about an agreement and that they decide to vote for Napolitano,” he said. If no consensus can be reached, Prodi has the option of using his slim majority to force his candidate through. But such a move would cause ill-feeling among centre right politicians and voters.