Skip to main content

Can rivals come together to form Italian government?

By CNN Staff
March 22, 2013 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
Democratic party leader Pier Luigi Bersani gives a press conference on March 22, 2013 at the presidential palace in Rome.
Democratic party leader Pier Luigi Bersani gives a press conference on March 22, 2013 at the presidential palace in Rome.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New try to form government
  • Can rivals get along?
  • Italy mired in recession

(CNN) -- Four weeks after inconclusive elections left Italy without a functioning government, Italy's president on Friday asked center-left politician Pier Luigi Bersani to try to form one.

The decision came after meetings this week between political leaders and ceremonial president Giorgio Napolitano, as they tried to determine what to do after February's elections left a three-way split between the right, the left and the wild-card party of Beppe Grillo.

Bersani fared the best in the February elections by leading a leftist coalition to a small majority in the lower house of parliament. But he was unable to win a majority in the Senate, where it counts.

Who's who in Italy's political turmoil?
Election leaves Italy deadlocked

Instead, power in the Senate was divided between Bersani and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition, anchored by his party, Popolo della Liberta, or People of Freedom.

Bersani and Berlusconi are archrivals who indicated they would not work together.

The post-election gridlock has helped to hobble Italy's economy. After the elections failed to produce a government, international ratings agency Fitch downgraded Italy's credit rating from A- to BBB+ and warned of further risks if political uncertainty continues and reforms and austerity measures are stalled.

The nation is in its longest recession in 20 years. Its economy -- Europe's third-largest with a government debt the Treasury Ministry puts at $2.6 trillion -- shrank by 0.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012, Eurobarometer says.

CNN's Hada Messia and Journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Convicted match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal boasts to CNN of fixing World Cup games adding: "I was on the bench and telling players what to do, giving orders to the coach."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0815 GMT (1615 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
"Princess Fragrant" is the latest effort to foster harmony in China's restive Xinjiang region.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0340 GMT (1140 HKT)
AC360 looks back at the most moving moments from Michael Brown's funeral.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0244 GMT (1044 HKT)
The mother of a hostage freed after two years captivity says it's not time to party.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
"I just love it when I get milk-to-dark converts," says Kerrin Rousset, before she leads a small cocoa-hungry crowd through Zurich's Old Town.
ADVERTISEMENT