Italy’s parties remain split over how to form a new government, as the President Giorgio Napolitano struggles to pull together a workable coalition.
It is nearly a month since inconclusive parliamentary elections saw Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left bloc win a majority in the lower house but not in the Senate.
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wants to move beyond the stalemate and says the centre right should be a part of any government.
He said: “We’re absolutely ready for a coalition government – which would intervene immediately with economic measures that many agree on.”
But the anti-establishment Five Star movement holds the balance of power in parliament – and it has asked Napolitano for its own mandate to govern.
Speaking in parliament, Roberta Lombardi, Five Star’s House leader said: “Despite our success, we have not been given any institutional representation. Parties have bargained for the chairmanship of the House and Senate and they did not respect the will of the people”.
Five Star’s leader Beppe Grillo says he will not support a coalition led by any other party or a so-called “president’s government” appointed by Napolitano.
Tough negotiations are set to continue as Italy’s political parties appear poles apart.