As Italy's president calls the country's politicians and a group of leading economic figures together to find a solution to political crisis in the country, analysts are questioning whether ten "wise men" can save Italy from new elections later this year.
President Giorgio Napolitano is due to meet with a committee of advisors at the Quirinale Palace in Rome on Tuesday in the latest attempt to find a solution to Italy's political impasse. The so-called group of ten "wise men," which includes a central bank official, lawmakers and politicians from the center-left and center-right blocs, has been asked to propose urgent measures that could be backed by all parties to put economic reforms back on track.
The group, which was called together last week, is meeting for the first time on Tuesday and is expected to announce measures such as cutting the cost of the bloated political system and replacing the widely criticized electoral law to avoid a repeat of the deadlock in future elections.
Italy has been effectively leaderless since an inconclusive election in February in which no political party won enough seats to govern independently. Bickering between the country's leading politicians has prevented any alliances being formed so far, delaying much-needed reforms in Italy.
Italy's center-left leader, Pier-Luigi Bersani, was asked by Napolitano to see whether he could receive broader political support needed for a mandate to govern, but has been unsuccessful so far. Comic Beppe Grillo , head of the anti-establishment "Five Star Movement," has refused to form a coalition with Bersani, who has in turn refused to countenance an alliance with the head of the center-right bloc, Silvio Berlusconi.
(Read More: Only an 'Insane Person' Would Want to Run Italy: Bersani )
Analysts at Barclays on Monday said that new elections would have to be held later this year, despite current attempts to resolve the political impasse. "Our baseline case remains that the president will try to form a grand coalition led by an independent candidate with a fairly narrow mandate focusing on electoral law reform," a research note from Barclays said on Monday. "We do not expect new elections before the third quarter this year, but it is too early to predict whether the electoral system will be reformed as to reduce the risk of another political impasse after the election."
(Read More: Why Italy Could Be the Next 'Bad Boy of Europe' )
Though the aim of the meeting is to find shared ground and compromise between the main political parties, there is skepticism over what the "wise men" can achieve. Either a political government is born quickly, Berlusconi ally Maurizio Gasparri said, or "we do what comes naturally in a democracy, return to the polls," he told Sky TG24 TV on Monday. "Let hope it's not just a delaying tactic" Gasparri added. Others, such as Emma Bonino, have criticized the absence of women from the panel. "Can you imagine if the president picked 10 women?," Boninon told Radio Radicale. "Everybody would have said, 'There's something wrong here,'" Bonino added.
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