Final ratification of a new government requires the approval of President Sergio Mattarella and then a vote in Parliament. Meanwhile, a close reading of the Constitution spells out a new premier's responsibilities.
Until lunchtime Wednesday Italy seemed to be plunging into the year's second round of national general elections. But in a surprising turnabout, Silvio Berlusconi dropped his opposition to a populist government of the Five Star movement and the Lega. The irony is that "what couldn't be done in two months was in a couple of hours."
On Thursday, the second day of formal consultations in the Quirinal Palace, the risk of new elections continued to cast a shadow over the talks guided by President Sergio Mattarella. And in a changing Italy its youthful new Parliament just may prove unpredictable.
For the old and new pols charged with running Italy, the Ides of March are still approaching, which is to say the day when one or the other is done in. At the moment all the players are still aiming knives at each other, even as deadlines loom.
The shock waves of this election have swept away the entire political system that has managed Italy for the past two decades. Dominated by populist parties, this is now being called the dawn of Italy's Third Republic.
As foreign press crews converge on Italy to report the elections, outsiders seem baffled at the plethora of parties and, instead of ideologies, the people in charge. Here's a listing of just who are these people.
As Italy plunges toward national general elections March 4, the walkup offers plenty of occasions for Italians to see themselves as others see them, with no holds barred. Herewith a sampling of the international press.
In his New Year's speech President Sergio Mattarella praised Italy's politicians for having the legislature last the regulation 5 years. But in national general elections that take place in just 60 days, those with "institutional responsibilities" must each do his share, he said.
As the year winds down, Italy looks ahead nervously to political 2018, when national general elections may take place as early as March. The predicted three-way split is almost certain to make forming a new government a challenge.
New President of Sicily Region, Nello Musumeci. Courtesy of www.nellomusumeci.it/blog
In a regional election Sunday in Sicily, a fledgling center-right coalition trounced the center-left, leaving former Premier Matteo Renzi and his party in deep trouble. The vote is seen as a harbinger of things to come when the nation goes to the polls next March.