Napolitano consults parties, Amato favourite to be premier

Re-elected president berates politicians, demands coalition govt

Napolitano consults parties, Amato favourite to be premier

Rome, April 23 - Re-elected President Giorgio Napolitano is holding a round of swift talks with Italy's parties on Tuesday on forming a government to end two months of deadlock after berating the nation's political class in his second swearing-in ceremony on Monday. The head of state reluctantly agreed to serve a second term on Saturday after the parties, especially the divided centre-left Democratic Party (PD), failed to agree on a candidate to succeed the 87-year-old. He stepped in as the situation threatened to further complicate the impasse the country has endured since February's inconclusive general election, as problems pile up for the recession-ravaged nation. Napolitano said the parties had behaved irresponsibly and has threatened to quit if they refuse to form a coalition to pass measures in a programme he recently asked a group of experts, dubbed the 10 wise men, to prepare. "If I find myself once again facing the kind of deafness I ran into in the past, I will not hesitate to draw the consequences," Napolitano said. Napolitano is expected to give someone a mandate to form on government on Wednesday. The person favourite to be asked is Giuliano Amato, a senior PD member who had two short stints as premier between 1992 and 1993 and 2000 and 2001. The centre-left led by Pier Luigi Bersani came first in February's vote but did not gain a working majority in the Senate. It ruled out forming a grand coalition with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi People of Freedom (PdL) party but failed in a bid to reach out to the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), which won about a quarter of the vote, leaving the country in a situation of gridlock. Bersani quit as PD chief at the weekend after two candidates he proposed to become head of state were scuppered by rebellions within the party. The PD is now expected to support a so-called 'government of the president', which would also be backed by the PdL, outgoing Premier Mario Monti's Civic Choice party and possibly the Northern League, with a limited mandate to pass some key reforms, including a new electoral law. This administration is set to include institutional figures as well as PD and PdL politicians, unlike Monti's emergency government of unelected technocrats. The League is in favour of being part of a broad coalition but does not want it to be led by Amato, who is also looked upon negatively by some parts of his own party, the PD. The M5S has said it is against this sort of government and so is the left-wing SEL party, which was allied with the PD in February's election.

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