Italy looks at a non-political premier for a way out of the election impasse

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President Giorgio Napolitano is considering appointing a new technocrat government led by a non-politician as one way out of Italy’s political stalemate.

Such a solution would come into play if centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani failed to form a government after receiving an initial mandate from Mr Napolitano, as is expected, Italian officials said.

“Napolitano wants a government with the broadest possible support that will last as long as possible,” one of the officials said yesterday.

Mr Bersani won a majority in the lower house of parliament and says he has the right to be the first to try to form a government, although he has no workable majority in the Senate.

However, 5-Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo, who holds the whip hand after winning a huge protest vote, responded to speculation about a technocrat government in Italian media yesterday by saying he would not support such an administration with a “fig-leaf” premier.

Napolitano is charged with finding a way out of the impasse but does not begin formal consultations until after 15 March when parliament will be convened, for constitutional reasons.

With no party able to control the upper house, the options for putting together a government depend on an agreement between at least two of the three main rival forces in parliament – Mr Bersani’s centre-left, the centre-right bloc led by Silvio Berlusconi and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.