PD asks president to give Bersani premiership mandate
Coalition head says president's 'wisdom' can break gridlock21 March, 20:30
President Napolitano continued meetings Thursday with leaders of the three biggest parties in parliament for the second day to hash out the formation of the country's next government.
"Tomorrow I will present my decisions. I want to organize my thoughts to get a better idea of what decision to take.
Tomorrow I will let you all know," Napolitano said following two days of meetings.
"Italy needs change and also to be headed by a government soon," PD leader Bersani said.
Our coalition "is at the disposal of the nation to help install a government and to institute social changes", Bersani said.
Bersani, whose alliance came first in the February 24-25 election but failed to win a working majority in the Senate, said preceding the meeting that he would ask Napolitano to give him the mandate to form a new government. Bersani has been trying to reach out to the former-comedian Beppe Grillo's 5-Star Movement (M5S), even though Grillo considers the PD part of a corrupt, malfunctioning system.
Democratic Party (PD) leaders on Thursday continued to refuse a broad coalition involving ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and his center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party during meetings with Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano.
"There is neither a plan B, nor a plan A...I took our reflections and I respect the role of the president to tell us how to get out of this difficult situation," Bersani said.
On Thursday, the head of state met first with (M5S) leader Grillo, whose anti-establishment group holds the balance of power in parliament after capturing a huge protest vote.
Napolitano later met with Berlusconi and his center-right coalition, who said it supported a coalition government with the PD but not if the PD claimed the premiership. Grillo said Thursday that the M5S would not support the current makeup of the parliament and would only vote for bills that fit with their platform. In meetings with Napolitano, representatives from his party said they wanted the premiership or control over two important parliamentary commissions, one that oversees state broadcaster RAI, the other, COPASIR, which oversees the secret service.
"We, the Democratic Party are the number one force in this country, no matter what anyone says and we are the leading coalition," Bersani said.
"Now we need some time" for the birth of the new government and that takes the "co-responsibility of all political forces," the PD leader concluded.