ROME (AP) — Italy appeared poised Saturday to finally get a new government, a broad coalition which brings media mogul Silvio Berlusconi's forces back to power, this time in tense alliance with center-left rivals.
Premier-designate Enrico Letta arrived at the Quirinale Palace to brief Italy's president, a meeting widely seen as indicating the center-left leader either had succeeded, or was on the verge of succeeding, in forming a government commanding strong support in Parliament.
However, it was possible Letta might also seek more time to knit together coalition agreements between archrival blocs.
Earlier, Berlusconi, who has three times served as premier, told reporters he believed a government would be formed though he would not be in the Cabinet being created by Letta.
Napolitano earlier in the week had tapped Letta to lead the latest bid to end the political deadlock that has gripped recession-mired Italy since inconclusive elections in February.
Viewed as a political bridge-builder, Letta is a nephew of a longtime Berlusconi adviser, Gianni Letta. The premier-designate met for two hours Saturday morning with Berlusconi as both sides hashed out Cabinet assignments.
The elections left the top vote-getter, Letta's Democratic Left party, badly fractured by infighting after it won control of the Chamber of Deputies but failed to do the same in the Senate. That result made runner-up Berlusconi a political kingmaker, since the center-left needs backing from his center-right bloc for a Parliamentary majority.
The third big bloc in Parliament, the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement, is led by comic Beppe Grillo, who ruled out any alliance with the largely sullied political class that has ruled Italy for decades.
Napolitano agreed to serve an unprecedented second term given the political instability.
Anxious financial markets and Italians fed up with joblessness and austerity spending cuts are counting on the next government to quickly roll out political and economic reforms.