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Wed Feb 27, 2013, 08:19 AM

Italy Confronts Vacuum as Leaders Seek to Avoid Election

Source: Bloomberg

Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the winning coalition in Italy’s elections, appealed to populist Beppe Grillo to show he’s willing to help govern after the inconclusive vote forced leaders into coalition building.

Bersani fell short of the Senate majority needed to form a government, while Grillo’s 5 Star movement captured more than a quarter of the vote in its first national election with a platform that rejects collaboration with established parties.

“Until now they have been saying that everyone must be sent packing, but now they are here too, so they must say what they want to do for this country and for their children,” Bersani told reporters in Rome, his first comments since the Feb. 24-25 vote.

The prospect for a hung parliament and concern the country may need new elections roiled markets, with the benchmark stock index shedding almost 5 percent yesterday and bond yields jumping. To have any chance to govern, Bersani will either have to bring Grillo into the process or join with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who lost to Bersani by less than half a percentage point. Grillo refused.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-26/italy-political-vacuum-to-extend-for-weeks-as-bargaining-begins.html

While I recognize that coalition building isn't easy (Buscani would need to get 7 Parties to agree to work with Grillo), if you're not willing to work with other parties at all (as 5 Star claims), you're intentionally injecting chaos into the political system. I suspect new (and possibly inconclusive) elections within 3 months.

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