Napolitano Urges Parties to Guard General Interest

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano told parties to put public interest and the country’s international reputation first as comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo reiterated his party won’t back any government.

“I recommend realism and moderation,” Napolitano said today in a statement. “We must all safeguard general interest and the international image of the country, avoiding any premature and categorical determination.”

Italian bond yields surged after elections on Feb. 24-25 ended in a four-way parliamentary split, raising doubt over the stability of the next government. Pier Luigi Bersani, whose party won the most votes, has resisted cooperation with Silvio Berlusconi, and has said he would seek a compromise with Grillo’s upstart political movement.

The comedian, whose anti-austerity 5 Star Movement will be the third-largest in parliament, today reinforced on his blog that his party won’t lend its support to any government in a confidence vote, especially one consisting of Bersani and Berlusconi. Grillo said he would back specific legislation on a case-by-case basis.

“‘I repeat for one last time: 5 Star Movement won’t give a confidence vote to any government,” Grillo said.

Renegotiate Debt

Bersani is under pressure to provide Italy with a stable government to pull the economy out of an 18-month recession and help the country service its $2.6 trillion debt.

Grillo called for a renegotiation of the country’s debt, according to an interview with Germany’s Focus Magazine published today. He said Italy should leave the common currency and take back the lira if the terms don’t change.

As part of efforts to form a stable government, President Napolitano wants bring forward the first parliamentary meeting to March 12 from March 15, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported today.

European Union leaders, including EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, said this week that Italian government stability is crucial to the region. Moody’s Investors Service said in a report Feb. 27 that the gridlock may re-ignite the euro-area’s debt crisis as turmoil in the bloc’s third-largest economy risks spilling over into weaker sovereigns like Portugal and Spain.

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