Italy's Parliament facing stalemate

Italy's Parliament facing stalemate
Pier Luigi Bersani

Italy’s newly elected Parliament was heading toward political gridlock as it meets for the first time after inconclusive elections gave no party a clear victory.

Investors will keep a close eye on the inaugural session today, when both chambers will vote for leaders. Only then can Italy’s president open talks on forming a government, expected next week.

Even before Parliament opened, the parties were locked in a stalemate.

Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani, whose coalition came first in February 24-25 elections, said his MPs will cast blank ballots after failing to persuade comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star Movement, which finished third, to co-operate on a leadership strategy.

The anti-establishment movement will only vote for its own candidates – which cannot guarantee a winner.

Voting was expected to continue on Saturday.

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