Rome: Leftist leader Pier Luigi Bersani got the formal go-ahead on Friday to try to form Italy’s next government even though his coalition failed to win an overall majority in parliament in elections last month.
“I have asked Bersani to verify whether he has the parliamentary support required to form a new government. He will refer back to me as soon as possible,” President Giorgio Napolitano said after two days of consultations with political leaders.
“Today marks the start of a decisive phase in giving Italy a new government,” Napolitano said, warning against “sterile delays” in a difficult road ahead.
“We can no longer ignore the spread of social unease and the expressions of dissatisfaction against political parties,” he said, referring to the high number of protest votes in the 24-25 February elections as Italy endures a deep recession.
Napolitano indicated he would have favoured a “grand coalition” between Bersani’s centre-left and Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right but said the obstacles to this “appear significant”.
He called for “a spirit of national cohesion”.
Bersani said he would meet with lawmakers “straight away” to build a majority, saying: “I’ll take the time I need in a difficult situation.”