In order to resolve the deadlock over the formation of a new government, President Giorgio Napolitano had named 10 “sages” – well-known experts from various backgrounds – to create two commissions to propose economic and institutional reforms.

However, the move has not delighted everyone. Leader of the Five Star Movement Beppe Grillo condemned the decision saying: “Democracy doesn’t need nurses,” while former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party (PDL) accused Napolitano of stalling instead of simply calling new elections, which it would prefer.

With parliament’s vote to elect Napolitano’s successor due in little more than a week, it is now clear this election will be overseen by Mario Monti’s outgoing government.