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Pier Luigi Bersani, who heads the centre-left (Common Good) coalition has a mandate by the Italian president (Giorgio Napolitano), to form the next government of Italy and become its next Prime Minister.
However, talks between Bersani, and Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Popolo della Libertà PDL (the People of Freedom) alliance fizzled yesterday, as expected. Talks between Bersani and Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement M5S fizzled today, also as expected.
The reaction of Bersani as reported by the Financial Times is rather amusing.
“Only an insane person can have the eagerness to form a government in this moment,” declared Mr Bersani, grim faced and looking somewhat exasperated, at his webcast meeting with the Five Star Movement. “I am ready to take on this enormous responsibility and I would ask everyone to take on a little bit of it.”
The PDL offered to form a "Grand Coalition" with Bersani but only on grounds the centre-left cannot accept.
Next up, president Napolitano is expected to seek a technocrat prime minister but odds the center-left, center-right, and M5S agree to that are essentially zero.
Napolitani is the outgoing president and cannot call for new elections. His seven-year term ends May 15. The next head of state would then call for fresh elections.
This is all playing out exactly as outlined on March 7 in What's Next for Italy? No Working Government for 7 Months, Then Elections in September.
A tip of the hat to reader "AC" who made hung-parliament call before the February elections (see European Reader Offers Insights on Upcoming Italian Election on February 19, 2013).
Explaining the Plea for More Insanity
Bersani will not win again next time. Both M5S and PDL have surged in the polls taking votes away from the center-left. Bersani is not even expected to be the next center-left candidate in new elections. Rather, Matteo Renzi, Mayor of Florence is widely expected to be the next center-left party leader.
So, this is Bersani's only shot, which explains his plea for more insanity.
Bersani will be out. But to who? Don't rule out another hung parliament.
The last election was a hung parliament between PDL and Bersani's centre-left. If Beppe Grillo's M5S wins the lower parliament in the next election, the result may very well be a hung parliament between PDL and M5S.
Won't that be fun?
Mike "Mish" Shedlock