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Former PM Berlusconi calls for ‘stable’ Italian government or new elections

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Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday called for either a strong new government or a fresh round of votes, while centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani rapped his political rivals for grandstanding during a deadlock that followed inconclusive elections.

Bersani’s coalition got the most votes in the February 24-25 ballot but failed to get enough for an overall majority in parliament, with Berlusconi’s grouping coming in a very close second.

Since then, Italy has descended into a deep political crisis since Bersani has so far failed to form a new government — refusing to join a grand coalition with Berlusconi and unable to woo lawmakers from the Beppe Grillo-led Five Star Movement which came third.

“Either there’s a strong and stable government right away or it will be preferable to let the Italians have their say by voting in June,” Berlusconi said at a political gathering in Bari in southern Italy, underscoring he would be more than ready to run again.

“We’re already ready to vote and I will be the candidate,” the scandal-tainted former prime minister said.

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