A new round of talks is underway in Italy to try to find a solution to the political crisis shaking the country. President Giorgio Napolitano is meeting leaders from the different political parties which formed the centre-left coalition that resigned on Wednesday. Romani Prodi, who has stayed on in a caretaker role as prime minister, must now convince Napolitano that he has garnered enough support to lead a sustainable government.
At a meeting on Thursday he managed to clinch crucial backing from his allies in the shape of a 12-point programme giving him the last say in case of conflict within the coalition. But former premier and opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi, who nourishes hopes of returning to power, doesn’t believe Prodi is fit to govern. His Forza Italia party is calling for early elections:
“We don’t want a repeat of this government which has already done enough harm by undermining Italy’s credibility abroad, increasing taxes, destroying reforms put in place by the previous government and preventing public planning projects from going ahead,” said Berlusconi.
While analysts deem the prospect of new elections unlikely, many do agree that given the complexity of the current crisis even by Italian standards, there is no guarantee it will be resolved today.