Bloomberg News

Bersani Called to Meet Napolitano Amid Italian Premiership Talks

March 22, 2013

Democratic Party Leader Pier Luigi Bersani

Democratic party leader Pier Luigi Bersani speaks during a press conference after a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome. Photographer: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Pier Luigi Bersani was called to meet with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano as the head of state prepares to announce his choice to lead the next government.

The meeting will take place at the presidential palace in Rome at 5 p.m., according to an e-mailed statement today from Napolitano’s office.

Bersani, 61, is pushing for the premiership after finishing first in an election last month that left no force in parliament with a clear path to the majority needed to form a government. The 87-year-old Napolitano completed two days of consultations with political leaders yesterday and said that he would announce his decision today.

“Napolitano will first invite Bersani to test whether he has enough support in parliament to win the majority of votes,” Annalisa Piazza, a fixed-income analyst at Newedge Group in London, said in an e-mail. “Should Bersani fail to succeed, Napolitano might try to explore other options. However, the negotiation process with other coalitions could be very long and not necessarily lead to a firm mandate.”

Italy is under pressure to come up with an administration as its economy slips deeper into recession and the crisis in Cyprus renews speculation of a euro breakup. The Feb. 24-25 general election was inconclusive as the rise of Beppe Grillo’s euro-skeptic party upset the traditional balance of power and fractured the electorate into three blocks.

Rival Lawmakers

Bersani, 61, has so far fallen short in his quest to entice rival lawmakers to back his candidacy for premier. Bersani did win a majority in the lower house though he fell short in the Senate, where both Grillo and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi won blocking minorities. Bersani met Napolitano late yesterday and told reporters after the appointment that he was leaving the choice of prime minister in the president’s hands.

“We trust that his considerations and wisdom will provide a solution for the country in this situation, which certainly is not simple,” Bersani said. “I think I can, and I hope I can, have a hand in this solution.”

Napolitano will give Bersani until March 26 to show he can win a majority in parliament, daily La Repubblica reported today. If Bersani fails, Napolitano will reach out to an “institutional” figure to try to build bipartisan support and avoid another election, the newspaper said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Frye in Rome at afrye@bloomberg.net; Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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