Democratic Party to ask Napolitano to name Bersani premier

Italian president continues meetings to forge new government

Democratic Party to ask Napolitano to name Bersani premier

Rome, March 21 - The Democratic Party (PD) insisted Thursday that it wants a "government of change" with centre-left PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani as Italy's next premier. Roberto Speranza, PD House leader, said that in meetings with Italy's president his party's leadership would also continue its refusal of any broad coalition involving ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and his center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano continued meetings Thursday with leaders of the three biggest parties in parliament for the second day to hash out the formation of the country's next government. The first day of talks showed no signs of a breakthrough that would end the nation's political gridlock. The head of state met first with 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo, whose anti-establishment group holds the balance of power in parliament after capturing a huge protest vote. Napolitano later met with Berlusconi and his center-right coalition, who said it supported a coalition government with the PD but not if the PD claimed the premiership. Bersani, whose alliance came first in the election but failed to win a working majority in the Senate, has said he will ask Napolitano to give him the mandate to form a new government when he meets with him personally later Thursday. Bersani has been trying to reach out to the M5S, even though Grillo considers the PD part of a corrupt, malfunctioning system. Grillo said Thursday that the M5S would not support the current makeup of the parliament and would only vote for bills that fit with their platform. In meetings with Napolitano, representatives from his party said they wanted the premiership or control over two important parliamentary commissions, one that oversees state broadcaster RAI, the other, COPASIR, which oversees the secret service.

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