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Italy's divided parliament finally elects speakers

Italy's divided parliament finally elects speakers
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Italy’s new parliament has chosen speakers for the two legislative chambers at the second time of asking, but the centre-left alliance only just got its candidates elected.

Laura Boldrini will be in the lower house while former anti-mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso will be in the Senate.

Their appointment was parliament’s first act since inconclusive elections gave centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani a majority in the lower house but not enough in the Senate.

“We are not worried at the moment for the government,” said Democratic Party Senator Ignazio Marino. “I think it’s a very positive signal that this session has begun with the election of two people, very interesting, a woman, who represents civil rights and a man who represents the law.”

Once speakers are in place, the formation of a government usually follows, but that could still prove problematic, according to political analyst Maurizio Caprara:

“It has been a success today, but the path for a new government is still strict and very hard, very difficult to go there. And so any day has its problems, today he (Bersani) solved the problems, but at the same time we don’t see in the votes a majority big enough, for a new government.”

Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti has been told to remain in office until there’s a new government. But since Bersani has ruled out teaming up with Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right and the anti-establishment Five-star movement has rejected his overtures, Italy could end up with fresh elections.