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Center-left leader to form coalition

Pier Luigi Bersani attended a press briefing after a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

Maurizio Brambatti/EPA

Pier Luigi Bersani attended a press briefing after a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

ROME — Italy’s center-left leader, Pier Luigi Bersani, was chosen Friday to form a new and viable government, which is badly needed to steer the country out of recession and get more Italians back to work.

The national elections last month produced no clear winner, but President Giorgio Napolitano said the 61-year-old Bersani was best positioned to create a government given ‘‘the most difficult circumstances’’ — a reference to the fact that the political leader has a comfortable majority in the lower house, but that the Senate is split.

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Bersani’s forces finished first, but he has ruled out a coalition with former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative alliance, which would risk alienating the voting base of Bersani’s Democratic Party.

But if he shuns Berlusconi, Bersani will need to win support from Parliament’s new third bloc, a populist, anti-euro movement founded by comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo.

Grillo has rejected a vote of confidence to support any established party — and support in the required vote of confidence for a new government to go forward.

Still, some Grillo lawmakers broke ranks over the weekend and voted to support Bersani’s candidate as Senate speaker, a move that infuriated Grillo.

Outgoing Premier Mario Monti continues as caretaker premier until a new one can be installed.

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