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Italy: Parliamentary puzzle

Parliamentary puzzle   – Paresh Nath
Khaleej Times (Dubaï)

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano appointed a working group on March 30 to try to unblock the political stalemate which has gripped the nation after Pier Luigi Bersani failed to form a government following last month's election.

Two committees of "wise men" have been appointed. The first will propose several urgent institutional reforms, such as reform of the electoral law which has caused the current stalemate, while the second is due to suggest urgent economic measures to help drag Italy out of a recession that has already lasted six quarters.

Most political groups have welcomed the initiative, believing it will "calm things down". However, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has accused the president of "stalling for time rather than holding new elections". Recent polls put his People of Freedom Party (PDL) significantly ahead of Bersani's centre-left group, 32.5 per cent against 29.6 per cent.