Italy's Bersani scrambles to find parliament majority
ROME (AFP) - Italy entered uncharted waters on Saturday as centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani scrambled to find a parliamentary majority even though his coalition failed to get enough votes in elections that have left the country in deadlock.
The leftist was given the go-ahead by President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday to try and win over lawmakers from rival parties after his coalition won a majority in the lower house but not in the upper house in last month's vote - a first in Italy's post-war history.
Mr Bersani began his consultations immediately after getting the nod from Mr Napolitano, who asked him to report back "as quickly as possible" and warned that Italy was in a "social and economic crisis" as it endures its longest recession in two decades.
European capitals and financial markets are watching nervously and have pressed for the euro zone's third largest economy to move quickly, particularly after a bailout dispute for Cyprus reignited fears over the euro area debt crisis.