Napolitano sees risks of 'confusing' end to legislative term

Cites need for preparation before elections

Napolitano sees risks of 'confusing' end to legislative term

Rome, December 6 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Thursday warned the nation against the risks of a ''confused'' end to the current legislature as ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi appeared poised to pull the plug on his successor Mario Monti's government after fulminating against its austerity policies. Speaking in Rome, the president said: ''We know that the imminent conclusion of the legislature, and therefore the approach of parliamentary elections, is creating increasing tensions among the political forces, since more than one year committed to supporting'' the current technocratic government. Referring to elections which are to be held no later than next spring, but which could come much sooner after Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party abstained in parliament Thursday, Napolitano said that he asked Italy's political forces to carry out an ''objective and serene'' evaluation of the ''necessary and opportune time'' required to organize elections. Berlusconi earlier Thursday said Italy stood on the brink of an economic "abyss" because of Monti's debt-cutting measures which have pushed Italy further into recession. The head of state added that the electoral tensions are not seen - even by Italy's foreign partners - as something which can undermine Italy's institutions. ''The capacity of our institutions to hold their own is out of question. I have the duty of reaffirming this publicly and I feel secure that I can,'' Napolitano said.

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