Rome

Napolitano begins day of meetings trying to forge government

Center-left Grasso and Boldrini to meet president first

Napolitano begins day of meetings trying to forge government

Rome, March 20 - The arduous march towards forming Italy's government gains speed Wednesday when President Giorgio Napolitano starts a day of meetings with party leaders, starting with center-left members, Senate leader Pietro Grasso followed by House Speaker Laura Boldrini. After inconclusive votes on Friday, Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left alliance managed to get both of its candidates elected as Speakers for the House and Senate, Italy's third- and second-highest institutional roles respectively behind the president. Napolitano will then meet with other leaders of Italy's myriad political parties, including those of outgoing Premier Mario Monti's Civic Choice (Scelta Civica) party. On Thursday Napolitano is scheduled to meet with leaders of the 5-Star Movement of Beppe Grillo, as well as with those of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, Pier Luigi Bersani's Democrat Party (PD) and the Northern League (Lega Nord). National elections held February 24-25 ended inconclusively with no single party or alliance garnering enough votes to obtain a majority in both chambers of the Italian parliament - an outcome which has cast doubt on the ability of the country's politicians to find some sort of agreement which will allow the formation of a stable government.

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