Italy's Bersani seeks way out of vote impasse
ROME (Reuters) - Italian center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani rallied his party on Wednesday behind a plan to form a minority government backed by populist Beppe Grillo after failing to secure victory in last week's election.Bersani, whose coalition threw away a 10-point lead in the opinion polls before the February 24-25 vote, won control of the lower house but let slip a workable parliamentary majority by failing to win the Senate.The result has left no group able to form a government on its own and Italy facing weeks of uncertainty. A new election could be called within months if no accord can be reached between the divided parties.Underlining pressure on politicians to agree on a government to tackle the problems of one of the world's biggest sovereign debtors, credit rating agency DBRS cut Italy's debt grade to A (low) from A on Wednesday, citing political uncertainty and a prolonged recession.Moody's Investor Service has warned the vote was bad for Italy's credit rating while Standard & Poor's has said its rating could be affected in the future. All major agencies rate Italy's outlook as negative.In an address to officials of his Democratic Party in Rome, Bersani, a 61-year-old former industry minister, acknowledged that the result was a defeat but said the left was the only political force capable of forming a government. "We are ready, if called on, to propose a government of change based on a core program," he said. "Its purpose will be to open the way forward for parliament." BIG WINNER
Bersani outlined an eight point platform to be brought before parliament, ranging from stimulating growth in Italy's economy to cutting bureaucracy and cracking down on corruption.He ruled out any accord with center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, whose scandal-tainted government fell at the height of the euro zone debt crisis in 2011, saying a deal with the 76-year-old media billionaire would not be...
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