Bloomberg News

Italy May Need New Election With No Deal on Bersani

March 03, 2013

Italy may hold new elections within months should Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani fail to win support in parliament to form a government after inconclusive elections.

There are no alternatives to a vote “in a few months” if Bersani doesn’t get a majority in parliament, Stefano Fassina, economic-policy spokesman for Bersani, said today on Sky TG24 TV. “We should name a new president, change the electoral law and then return to polls as soon as possible.”

Italian bond yields surged after elections on Feb. 24-25 ended in a four-way parliamentary split, raising doubt over the stability of the next government. Bersani, whose party won the most votes, failed to gain control of parliament as former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo won blocking minorities in the Senate.

Bersani has resisted cooperation with Berlusconi and has said he would seek a compromise with Grillo’s upstart political movement. Grillo must take responsibility and say how he wants to restructure the house or “we’ll all go home,” Bersani said late yesterday in a televised interview on RAI 3.

Bersani is under pressure to provide Italy with a stable government to pull the economy out of an 18-month recession and help the country service its $2.6 trillion debt. Moody’s Investors Service said in a report Feb. 27 that the gridlock may re-ignite the euro-area’s debt crisis as turmoil in the bloc’s third-largest economy risks spilling over into weaker sovereigns like Portugal and Spain.

New elections may be held in June, July or after summer, Fassina said today. Italian voters “rejected” austerity measures imposed by Mario Monti’s government and the euro area isn’t on the right road to end the crisis, he said.

Grillo’s Party

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said yesterday parties should put public interest and the country’s international reputation first as Grillo reiterated his anti-austerity 5 Star Movement won’t back any government.

The comedian, whose party will be the third-largest in parliament, reiterated yesterday on his blog that his group won’t give a confidence vote to any government.

Grillo said he favors Europe and proposes an online referendum on the euro, Italian newswire Ansa reported yesterday, citing an interview with German Bild.

Napolitano won’t back a minority government by Bersani and may seek a new technocratic government, la Repubblica newspaper reported today, without citing anyone. Fassina said Italians wouldn’t accept a non-elected government.

European Union leaders, including EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, said last week that Italian government stability is crucial to the region.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tommaso Ebhardt in Milan at tebhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net


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