Berlusconi's Ally Umberto Bossi Says Country Should Hold Early Elections

Italian Minister for Reforms Umberto Bossi said early elections are necessary because the country is “stuck in a rut” after one of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s key allies abandoned the ruling coalition.

“We are stuck in a rut and the only possibility is to go to elections,” Bossi said last night at a press conference in Alassio, Italy.

Berlusconi’s grip on power has loosened after Gianfranco Fini, co-founder of the premier’s People of Liberty Party and his ally of 16 years, abandoned the government to form a new political group after a rift with Berlusconi. More than 30 lawmakers from the Chamber of Deputies joined Fini, ending Berlusconi’s absolute majority in parliament.

Bossi said that Fini and Pier Luigi Bersani, head of the opposition Democratic Party, are afraid to go to the polls and would prefer the formation of a “technical government.” Under Italian law, President Giorgio Napolitano would decide whether to call early elections or seek to form a temporary government that could carry out key reforms, like overhauling the country’s election law.

Berlusconi is about half way through his term, which ends in 2013.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Davis in Rome at abdavis@bloomberg.net

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