Mercoledì, 26 Settembre 2018
ROME

Government-formation talks start on uphill track

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, March 20 - Italian President Giorgio
Napolitano began two days of talks with party leaders about the
formation of a new government on Wednesday, but there were no
signs of a breakthrough that would end the nation's political
gridlock.
The first day of talks was devoted to the smaller parties
in parliament, including outgoing Premier Mario Monti's Civic
Choice (Scelta Civica) party, which did less well than expected
in last month's inconclusive vote.
On Thursday the head of state will meet centre-left head
Pier Luigi Bersani, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and 5-Star
Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo, whose anti-establishment
group holds the balance of power in parliament after capturing a
huge protest vote.
Bersani, whose alliance came first in the election but
failed to win a working majority in the Senate, has said he will
ask Napolitano to give him the mandate to form a new government.
But at the moment he appears unlikely to be able to present
an administration capable of winning a confidence vote in the
Senate.
Bersani has ruled out forming a grand coalition with
Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party and the ex-premier's
centre-right alliance, which came a close second last month.
He is trying to reach out to the M5S, even though Grillo
considers Bersani's Democratic Party (PD) part of a corrupt,
malfunctioning system that he wants to revolutionise and has
responded to the overtures with insults.
These have included Grillo describing Bersani as a "dead
man talking".
The three sides were sticking to the their positions on
Wednesday.
Berlusconi said he would tell Napolitano Italy needed a
government composed of a PD-PdL grand coalition, even though
Bersani has ruled this out.
"Only a stable, authoritative government of national
concord springing from a collaboration between the PdL and the
PD can carry out interventions that are in the country's
interest," Berlusconi told one of his Mediaset TV channels.
The PD, meanwhile, said Bersani is preparing to present
Napolitano with an eight-point platform that he hopes may win
over the M5S as it reflects many of the movement's policies.
These include cuts to the number of parliamentarians and
other measures to reduce the cost of politics, the recognition
of same-sex unions and the introduction of a universal system of
unemployment benefits.
But the M5S, which has said it will not vote confidence in
an administration led by an established party, reiterated that
its solution is for the other groups to give it the reins of
power.
"We will propose (to Napolitano) what we always have, a
5-Star government," said the M5S's Senate whip Vito Crimi.
An indication of how far the PD and the M5S are came after
the centre-left-nominated Speakers of the House and the Senate,
Pietro Grasso and Laura Boldrini, said they would take a 30%
salary cut after being elected into Italy's third- and
second-highest institutional positions at the weekend.
Rather than welcoming the move, Grillo complained the new
speakers were not doing enough.
"Boldrini, Grasso, take the responsibility that your roles
impose, ask for the parliamentarians' salaries to be halved and
(for the parties) to renounce their electoral expenses,"
comedian-turned-politician Grillo said via Facebook.
Boldrini, a former spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees, and former national anti-Mafia prosecutor Grasso,
also met Napolitano on Wednesday.
Grasso said he and the president both shared "a unified
determination to give a government to the country".

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