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President says Italy must combat uncertain climate

Tells opposition parties to stop calling for elections

10 December, 15:52
President says Italy must combat uncertain climate (ANSA) - Rome, December 10 - President Giorgio Napolitano said Tuesday that Italy had to combat its negative social and political climate as the country emerges from its longest recession in over two decades.

"The country is in a climate, a mood, that isn't exactly one of confidence," Napolitano said during a conference at the Senate. Italy's political climate has been soured by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi being ejected from parliament last month after a tax-fraud conviction was upheld against him and by his centre-right Forza Italia party pulling its support from Premier Enrico Letta's coalition government.

Letta, a member of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), is still at the helm of government thanks to the support of a group of lawmakers who split from Berlusconi to form a new party, the New Centre Right (NCD), led by Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

Controversy has also ensued following the Constitutional Court's ruling that Italy's current electoral law breaches the Constitution.

This has led Forza Italia and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) to say the current parliament, voted in with that law, is illegitimate, along with the government it produced.

They are calling for fresh elections.

Napolitano, who was instrumental in engineering Letta's executive to end two months of deadlock after February's inconclusive general election, appealed for an end to controversy.

"It's time to stop the din of political bickering," the head of State said.

"Elections are not scheduled, even though some people have a way of calling for them any time".