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Italy tries again to get rivals to form government

Frances d'Emilio, Associated Press

Italian Democratic Party lawmaker Enrico Letta is saluted by a presidential guard as he leaves after making a statement to the media after talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, in Rome's Quirinale presidential palace, Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Italy's president has appointed Enrico Letta as premier, asking him to try to form a government to end Italy's political paralysis and set the country back on the path of reform and economic growth. Letta, a 46-year-old longtime center-left lawmaker, told reporters Wednesday he accepted the job knowing it's an enormous responsibility and that Italy's political class "has lost all credibility." (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) -- Silvio Berlusconi's top political aide says issues on economic policy must be resolved before his conservative forces can join a center-left party in a coalition government for Italy.

But Angelino Alfano said after meeting Premier-designate Enrico Letta on Thursday that progress was made toward an agreement.

Letta, a center-left leader, is trying to find common ground among political blocs mired in deadlock since inconclusive February elections.

Ex-Premier Berlusconi's "recipe" for reviving economy includes abolishing a property tax some consider crucial to Italy's surviving the eurozone debt crisis.