Rome

Bersani says no risk of centre-left PD splitting

Leader has come under fire from party's rising star Renzi

Bersani says no risk of centre-left PD splitting

Rome, April 11 - Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said Thursday that there was no danger of his Democratic Party (PD) splitting because of internal divisions over his handling of Italy's post-election political deadlock. The PD's rising star, Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, has publicly criticised Bersani approach after the centre-left came first in February's inconclusive general election but did not win a working majority in the Senate. Italy still has no government after Bersani failed to win support for a post-election pact with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and ruled out forming a grand coalition with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has asked a group of 10 'wise men' to try to break the deadlock by preparing a government programme capable of winning cross-party support. Renzi has said this means Italy is "wasting time" that should be used to combat the country's economic ailments and argued the PD should either open talks with Berlusconi or ask to return to the polls. The Florence mayor, who has been compared to a young Tony Blair, also crossed swords with Bersani after not being chosen among the representatives of Italy's regions set to join lawmakers in voting for the next head of state. Although tension is high, Bersani says his party will not divide. "We don't have problems of this type," Bersani told reporters on Thursday when asked about a possible split.

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