Skip to main content

Can rivals come together to form Italian government?

By CNN Staff
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
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
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer.
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
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.
ADVERTISEMENT