Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018

Berlusconi insists on coalition as Napolitano bid starts


Rome, March 29 - Centre-right leader Silvio
Berlusconi on Friday reiterated to President Giorgio Napolitano
that a grand coalition between his People of Freedom (PdL) party
and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was the only way out
of Italy's post-election impasse.
The PD got a majority in the House but not the Senate in the
February 24-25 elections, where the PdL came second and comedian
Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) rode a
huge protest vote to hold the balance of power.
Grillo has ruled out working with either party, claiming
they are equal culprits in a corrupt and dysfunctional system.
Ex-premier Berlusconi tried to persuade PD leader Pier Luigi
Bersani to agree to a broad alliance given Grillo's refusal to
support the PD, but Bersani refused.
Napolitano took over efforts to cobble together a government
after Bersani's week-long bid failed.
Berlusconi told Napolitano that Bersani could lead an
alliance to start tackling Italy's deep economic woes after what
he called the "tragic experience" of the technocrat
administration of Mario Monti which imposed stiff austerity
measures that pulled Italy back from a Greek-style meltdown but
deepened the country's worst recession in decades.
"We told the president our position, which is the same it
has always been," Berlusconi said after talking to Napolitano.
"We have to find a way to give life to a coalition
government, in the country's interests.
"We are willing to meet with the other political forces to
hammer out the urgent measures needed to tackle the extremely
difficult economic situation," said the three-time premier.
PD Senate Whip Luigi Zanda reiterated Bersani's rejection of
an alliance with the PdL, saying the two parties were
"light-years apart".
Napolitano, who has insisted on the need to avoid fresh
elections, is meeting the PD and M5S later Friday.
If no consensus emerges he may propose a so-called
'government of the president' to enact a limited platform of
economic and political reform including changing Italy's
much-criticised electoral law to produce a clear winner.
The Italian media have floated the names of several
authoritative political and economic figures that might head
such a government, but none has emerged as a front-runner.
Pundits have also said another alliance between the
established parties, which backed Monti's year-long government,
would boost Grillo's polling ratings, already higher than when
his 'tsunami' ripped across the country last month.

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