Italy could be inching closer towards another election within months after center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani issued an ultimatum to anti-establishment comic Beppe Grillo to support a new government or return to the polls. Last week’s election, in which Grillo’s 5-Star Movement won a huge protest vote, left no group with a working majority in parliament, making an alliance with a rival the only way out. On RAI state television late on Sunday, Bersani underlined his opposition to two of the options floated – another technocrat government like the outgoing one led by Mario Monti or a coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right. That would leave only one possibility to avoid elections – Grillo’s backing for the center-left, which won the lower house in the election but does not have enough support in the Senate. “Now (Grillo) must say what he wants, otherwise we all go home, including him,” Bersani said.
Grillo has repeatedly said his populist movement, which he refuses to call a party, would not give a vote of confidence to any government of established parties, although it could support individual laws.
“We have already said it several times: we won’t give a vote of confidence to a government of political parties,” the movement’s newly named Senate leader, Vito Crimi, told its novice lawmakers on Monday during a meeting in Rome streamed on Grillo’s blog.
He said the party could consider supporting a technocrat government such as the one headed by outgoing prime minister Monti.
The uncertainty in Italy, during a long limbo before talks to form a government begin after March 15, has unsettled international markets. The spread between Italian 10-year benchmark bonds and German bunds – a measure of investor confidence – widened on Monday to an almost three-month high.