Xinhua | Agencies
Published on March 27, 2013 20:22
Center-left head Pier Luigi Bersani on Wednesday failed to strike a deal for forming a new Italian government with the grassroots Five-Star Movement (M5S) which holds the balance of power after February's inconclusive elections.
Bersani met with M5S's representatives in the first formal consultation of this kind to be broadcast live stream in Italy's political history.
M5S, which rejects mainstream parties and won the support of eight millions of Italians nauseated by scandal-hit politics, came third in the elections after Bersani's coalition and the center-right alliance of former premier Silvio Berlusconi.
None of the three parties came out strong enough to rule alone. Bersani told the M5S he was open to collaborate on an eight-point program which shares the movement's key objectives of more equal social reforms and reduction of huge political expenditure.
The center-left head, who was charged by President Giorgio Napolitano last week with the hard task to form a government after he pledged that he would succeed in carrying out the necessary "changes" for crisis-hit Italy, said that he was "ready to take a huge responsibility."
"And I would ask you to take a small piece of this responsibility," he told the M5S representatives, who, nevertheless, reaffirmed that the movement will vote against giving confidence to a government that is considered as a continuation of old politics.
"While you were speaking it seemed to me that I was listening to an episode of Ballaro (a political talk show). I have been voting for 20 years and hearing the same things that have never been put into practice," the M5S's leader in the lower house Roberta Lombardi said.
"We do not meet social partners because we are the social partners," she said referring a series of talks between Bersani and labor associations over the past days.
Echoing his words, M5S's leader in the upper house Vito Crimi also lamented that, for decades Italian politicians had been promising uselessly measures to help citizens whose hard life has become miserable in the current economic recession.
"We are in a phase in which we want a test... we do have a political project and are ready to take our responsibilities as citizens," he said.
Crimi also added that the internet-based movement can rely on the "credibility" that traditional parties do not possess, thus it would only back its own government.
Bersani, in a last-ditch attempt to win the necessary support to govern the country, plans to seek help from individual lawmakers. But the requirement of a confidence vote in parliament is a big obstacle to the creation of a minority executive.
According to local analysts, the only realistic possibility is some sort of alliance between the center-left and center-right, of which the two leading parties, Bersani's Democratic Party (PD) and Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL), are longstanding enemies.
Bersani was set to present to Napolitano a government "in the fullness of its powers" on Thursday, but latest media reports said he would take one more day for consultations with minor parties, and will meet the president on Friday.
Should Bersani fail to form a government, Napolitano could hand the mandate to an institutional figure or a respected personality from a nonpartisan body similar to the administration of outgoing Premier Mario Monti, who was appointed amid a peak in the debt crisis in late 2011.