President Giorgio Napolitano has asked a select group of people to offer a policy platform to end the impasse in forming a new government in Italy.
Giorgio Napolitano named 10 “wise men” to work in two separate groups.
The president’s announcement ended speculation that he might resign – a day after political parties failed to agree a coalition government following February’s inconclusive election.
Giorgio Napolitano said he would serve out his mandate that ends on May 15.
Italy has been governed by a group of technocrats led by Mario Monti since late 2011 – when centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi resigned in the middle of an acute economic crisis.
Giorgio Napolitano said that Mario Monti’s caretaker cabinet was still “operational” and “in charge”.
However, the continuing political stalemate is delaying reforms that could help revive Italy’s recession-hit, debt-laden economy.
Giorgio Napolitano finished consultations with Italy’s main political leaders on Friday.
In the absence of agreement, he said he asked “two small groups of personalities” to formulate “precise programme proposals” that could be supported by political parties – and serve as a basis for a new cabinet.
The first group will be asked to work on pressing political and institutional issues, while the second will focus on economic and social problems.
Among the 10 “wise men” are Enrico Giovannini, head of Italy’s Istat statistics agency, European Affairs Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Bank of Italy deputy director Salvatore Rossi and Valerio Onida, a former judge on the country’s constitutional court.
“I want to underline one more time the need for all political parties to demonstrate their full awareness of the gravity and urgency of the problems facing the country,” Giorgio Napolitano said.
Italy’s parliament is currently split in three main blocs – each without enough seats to govern alone.
Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left coalition won the most votes in the February election, but failed to secure a majority in both houses of parliament.
The bloc has ruled out an alliance with Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right alliance, which finished a close second.
The protest group Five Stars Movement led by former comedian Beppe Grillo garnered a quarter of the vote, but has refused to support either group.
Italy’s 10 “Wise Men”:
- Political and institutional reform group
- Prof. Valerio Onida – University of Milan constitutional law expert
- Luciano Volante – former parliament speaker from Pier Luigi Bersani’s party
- Mario Mauro – senator in Mario Monti’s party
- Gaetano Quagliariello – senator in Silvio Berlusconi’s party
- Economic and social reform group
- Prof. Enrico Giovannini – statistics agency head
- Giovanni Pitruzzella – Competition Authority head
- Salvatore Rossi – Bank of Italy deputy head
- Enzo Moavero Milanesi – European Affairs minister
5-6. Giancarlo Giorgetti and Filippo Bubbico – parliament commission heads