UPDATE, March 26, 8 a.m. ET: So with a day left to form a government, Bersani is set to meet Berlusconi’s allies today. Governments of miracles do, in fact, sometimes happen for those who want to be prime minister enough.
* * * * *
The latest on the attempts by centrosinistra (center-left) leader Pier Luigi Bersani to form a government:
Bersani expressed the urgency of Italy’s dilemma.
“The situation is dramatic. We need a government. In fact we need a government capable of performing miracles,” he told reporters at parliament where he was meeting union leaders, seeking support for modest economic reforms.
And so the coalition courtship continues, even as the eurozone goes through another wrenching crisis over a country with 0.2% of the eurozone GDP that controls about half of its internationally recognized territory.
Bersani blew off yet another attempt by centrodestra (center-right) leader Silvio Berlusconi to form a ‘grand coalition’ with Bersani as premier and former justice minister Angelino Alfano as vice premier in exchange for choosing a candidate for president amenable to Berlusconi’s allies when current president Giorgio Napolitano’s term ends in May. Despite predictions of oblivion, Berlusconi came within 0.4% of beating Bersani’s coalition in elections last month, so of course it’s in the once-again ascendant Berlusconi’s interest to demand either entering government or new elections, which polls show Berlusconi would now win.
Silvio, you sexy thing.
Napolitano gave Bersani a mandate to form a coalition government on Friday (here’s my bleak take on some of Italy’s options over the weekend). Beppe Grillo, the leader of the Movimento 5 Stelle (the Five Star Movement), has ruled out even an informal alliance to prop up a Bersani-led government — Bersani and the center-left have a majority in the lower house of the Italian parliament, but not in the upper house.
Did Bersani watch the same near-disaster in Nicosia and Brussels that I did over the weekend?
All he’s got in his arsenal is to talk about a government of miracles?
If that’s really all Bersani has in his quiver at this point, it’s not surprising that Italians believe he doesn’t deserve to be prime minister. What a mess.
Something tells me that Florence mayor Matteo Renzi will be replacing Bersani as the leader of the Partito Democratico (PD, Democratic Party) — in hours or days, not weeks.