Italian Parliament Totally Gridlocked

Unable to elect speakers for either chamber


Italy's new parliament sat on Friday for the first time since an inconclusive general election produced a political stalemate that meant deputies and senators were unable even to elect speakers for either chamber.

The February election gave the center left a majority in the lower house but not in the Senate, leaving it unable to form a government and raising the specter of a return to the polls and the threat of renewed market turmoil.

Center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani has so far ruled out any deal with Berlusconi's center-right bloc, the second-biggest force in parliament. But his overtures to the major new force in Italian politics—Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement—have been rebuffed.