Italy battles on to form government

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President Giorgio Napolitano ruled out an early return to the polls yesterday as Italy’s parties wrangled over how to form a government after this week’s deadlocked election.

Speaking during a state visit to Berlin, Mr Napolitano said Italy needed a stable government and could not immediately hold a new election.

“I’m not interested in going back to vote again,” he at an event at the Humboldt University.

Mr Napolitano’s mandate ends in mid-May but he said his successor would be just as reluctant to call a new vote.

“I doubt that a new president will be thinking only of new elections. We’ll have to see how to give Italy a government,” he said.

The comments came as the three main blocs in parliament grappled with the aftermath of a vote that has left none with a workable majority and has revived fears of a return to the euro zone debt crisis.

Economic data yesterday underlined the extent of the problems a new government will face, with youth unemployment rising to a record of almost 39 per cent and public debt at 127 per cent of gross domestic product.