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ROME: An Italian political crisis that has rattled the eurozone deepened yesterday when two party leaders ruled out the most likely options to form a government and avoid a new election.
Populist leader Beppe Grillo slammed the door on overtures from centre-left boss Pier Luigi Bersani with a stream of insults while Nichi Vendola, Bersani’s junior coalition partner, ruled out a government alliance with the centre-right.
These two options are currently seen as the only way to avoid returning to the polls in short order after the February 24-25 election, in which a huge protest vote against traditional politicians and austerity policies plunged Italy into deadlock. The centre-left took the most seats in the poll but no single group has a big enough majority to rule. Grillo’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement blocked centre-left control of parliament after one of the biggest populist victories in recent European history.
Bersani put out cautious feelers to Grillo on Tuesday, suggesting there could be agreement on a short list of measures common to both sides. But he said those supporting a centre-left government would have to back it in a confidence vote, which would be essential before it could be installed.
Grillo responded on his blog by calling Bersani a “dead man talking” and a political stalker, accusing him of making “indecent proposals” and calling on him to resign. The centre-left slumped to well below the winning majority that opinion polls had predicted.
Grillo said 5-Star would not give a vote of confidence to the centre-left or anybody else, but would support laws that reflected its own programme to abolish a despised electoral law, slash the privileges of a discredited political class and remove public funding from the parties. Reuters