New Italian government should be formed by Easter
Parliament's first task will be to elect president's successor26 February, 18:50
The country's general election Sunday and Monday produced a stalemate, with Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left alliance failing to win a working majority in parliament and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre right saying the vote should be declared "too close to call".
To break the gridlock, horse-trading in the House and Senate will have to take place to try to form a majority government.
Bersani, whose coalition won in the House, is expected to make the first proposals to the head of state to form the new government.
President Giorgio Napolitano has called for the first meetings of the House to be convened on March 15, 20 days following the elections. By March 16 the House formation is expected.
The Senate, instead, is expected to take shape by March 20 with members choosing their alliances.
One of the first tasks of the House and Senate joint assembly on April 15 will be to elect the successor to Napolitano, whose term expires on May 15.