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Talks to form a new government in Italy break down

ROME — Italy’s political gridlock deepened on Wednesday as talks to form a government broke down between the center-left leader, Pier Luigi Bersani, and the upstart Five Star Movement, a month after national elections failed to yield a majority.

Bersani said on Wednesday that he would hold more consultations on Thursday and then report to President Giorgio Napolitano on whether he had enough support to cobble together a government. He reiterated that his Democratic Party offered the best chance for change and political stability in Italy, which is facing growing economic troubles.

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Last Friday, Napolitano said he would give Bersani a formal mandate only if he had enough support to win a confidence vote in Parliament. Bersani’s party has a majority in the lower house but not in the Senate, and it needs a solid majority in both in order to govern.

On Wednesday, the leaders of the Five Star Movement of the former comedian Beppe Grillo, which soared to third place on an agenda of doing away with politics as usual, rejected Bersani’s request that they support him in a confidence vote in Parliament, even remaining in the opposition.

In those talks, Bersani said he was ready to face the task of governing Italy — a job that he said ‘‘only an insane person’’ would want to do at this point.

‘‘I am ready to take on this enormous responsibility and I would ask everyone to take on a little bit of it,’’ he said.

However, the ideological differences among a range of smaller parties make it nearly impossible for Bersani to form a governing coalition.

NEW YORK TIMES

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