Italy's president wants quick solution to government crisis

"Italy needs a government with full powers quickly," says Sergio Mattarella.

Italy “needs a government with full powers as quickly as possible” in order to meet “domestic, European and international” commitments and deadlines, President Sergio Mattarella said at the close of political consultations triggered by the resignation of prime minister Matteo Renzi following his defeat in the constitutional referendum on 4 December.

During the three-day consultations Mattarella met with the speakers of the chamber of deputies and senate, former president Giorgio Napolitano and representatives of all the political parties in parliament to see if there is common ground for a solution.

This is likely to involve tasking a high-profile political figure to form a new government to lead the country to elections as soon as possible. The present foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni is now thought to be the favourite choice and he has been called to see the president at 12.30 on Sunday morning.

During the talks between the president and all the key politicians the positions of some of the key players became clearer.

The Partito Democratico (PD) led by Renzi reportedly said it would support whatever decision Mattarella takes in order to arrive at early elections.

This was a departure from the suggestion made by Renzi before the start of crisis talks for a government of national responsibility embracing representatives from across the political spectrum to steer the country until the natural end of parliament in 2018.

The PD delegation allegedly made no proposals for candidates to head up the new government that will lead Italy to elections. However, foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni was among the names, as well as with infrastructure minister Graziano Delrio, senate speaker Pietro Grasso and economy minister Pier Carlo Padoan.

The opposition party Forza Italia led by Silvio Berlusconi has called for a new electoral law to be approved as quickly as possible as a precondition for voting, while the anti-establishment Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S) led by comic Beppe Grillo wants snap elections under current electoral laws.