Rome

Hollande says 'Europe must not be deaf to Italy vote'

Economic crisis has produced 'a clear message'

Hollande says 'Europe must not be deaf to Italy vote'

Rome, February 27 - French President Francois Hollande and Italian center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said Wednesday that Europe must pay attention to Italy after elections there produced no clear majority in parliament. "The economic crisis and the suffering surrounding it are at this point so serious that even the European Union cannot and must not remain deaf to the clear message that emerged from the vote in Italy," said a joint statement after a telephone conversation. After a disappointing performance in elections Sunday and Monday, Bersani and the center left squeaked by with a majority in the House but failed to secure a majority in the Senate and now the parliament looks poised for gridlock. The result is largely due to the surprising performance of rival populist candidates Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi, who rode on euro-skeptic, anti-austerity platforms and together won over 50% of the popular vote. Bersani on Wednesday appealed to Grillo to break the Senate deadlock but was rebuffed. "Reforming the Italian political system and relaunching measures to resolve the social problems caused by the recession are two decisive aims for Italy," said the joint statement.

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