Berlusconi's party skeptical about chances of 'wise men'

Cicchitto says experts will get '7-10 days'

Berlusconi's party skeptical about chances of 'wise men'

(see related story) Rome, March 31 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party said Sunday that it was skeptical about the chances of success of a group of experts President Giorgio Napolitano has asked to try to find a way out of Italy's political deadlock. The centre-left, which came first in last month's inconclusive general election but failed to win a working majority in the Senate, has rejected Berlusconi's calls for it to form a grand coalition for government with the PdL. But Pier Luigi Bersani, the head of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), admitted last week that he could not form a government after failing to win support from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), which holds the balance of power in parliament after capturing a huge protest vote last month. Fabrizio Cicchitto, a senior PdL MP, said the party would give the so-called wise men "seven to 10 days" to see if they were able to draft a programme for government it can support. But Renato Brunetta, a former civil service minister and the PdL's House whip, is not optimistic. "The elections indicated that an agreement between the PdL and the PD is the only possible way to have a government," said Brunetta. "I don't think that this initiative (by Napolitano) will change the facts of the problem". Berlusconi has said that if it is not possible for the parties to find an agreement on a government it would be better to have new elections rather than have another technocrat administration like outgoing Premier Mario Monti's emergency government.

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