Italian president tries to buy time

AFP-JIJI

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called Saturday for political parties to come to an agreement but said Prime Minister Mario Monti will remain in office until a deadlock created by last month’s polls is resolved.

Napolitano also ruled out resigning — an extreme-case scenario mooted by some analysts that would have paved the way for early elections to end the impasse from polls that left no clear winner.

The president said he was setting up two working groups that will start work Tuesday to set out the most important reforms for any future government. The first group will focus on political reforms and is comprised of four people, including three political figures from the right, center, and left wings. A second group on economic issues will have six members, including the head of Italy’s antitrust agency and European Affairs, Enzo Moavero.

Italy’s political leaders should have “a greater sense of responsibility,” Napolitano said, noting the parties so far had “distinctly different positions” on the future government.

He also said Monti, a former European commissioner drafted in to drag Italy out of the eurozone debt crisis in 2011, represented “an element of certainty.”