Sunday, August 7, 2011

Berlusconi rules out early elections

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

Source: Press TV

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has ruled out the possibility of early elections aimed at soothing the market panic that grips the European country amid its financial crisis.

"This has absolutely not been talked about," Berlusconi said, referring to a possibility of early elections in 2012, adding that it "has never been an option," Reuters reported.

The Italian premier also rejected any Spanish-style policy, based on which Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called for an early election in 2012 to tackle economic crisis in his country.

Earlier, Italian leaders of business and trade unions called on Berlusconi to calm the market turmoil that has been threatening to plunge the country into a financial crisis.

"The situation is grave. It must be confronted with maximum determination and without excuses or shortcuts," representatives of 36 business and trade union organizations said in a statement following their Thursday meeting with Berlusconi in Rome.

Italian opposition Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani also said, "Italy has a political problem, and if this problem is not resolved, it will burn through any sacrifices Italians make."

The Italian economy, the third largest in Europe, grew just 0.1 percent in the first quarter of the year.

On Tuesday, Italian sovereign debt risk premiums soared to eurozone record highs. Following the news, stock markets in Italy plunged by nearly three percent.

So far, Greece, Ireland and Portugal have already received bailout packages from the European Union.

There are growing fears that Italy may be next in line to eclipse the previous bailouts and further undermine the euro.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has rejected the possibility of a debt rescue plan for Spain and Italy.

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