Italian President Giorgio Napolitano ruled out standing down early to make way for new parliamentary elections, following the failure of attempts to form a government this week. He stressed that Prime Minister Mario Monti retained full authority at the head of a caretaker administration until a new government can be formed
Napolitano, whose term ends on May 15, spoke after news reports suggested he might resign to get around constitutional provisions which prevent a president dissolving parliament and calling elections in the final months of his mandate.
The 87-year-old told reporters he would continue his efforts to break the deadlock since inconclusive elections last month that left no group able to form a government.
I will continue until the last day of my mandate to do as my sense of national responsibility suggests, without hiding from the country the difficulties that I am still facing, he told reporters at his Quirinale palace.
He said he would ask two small groups of experts to formulate proposals for institutional and social and economic reforms that could be supported by all political parties.
But he acknowledged that he had limited scope to force the divided parties to find a way out of political situation that he said was frozen between irreconcilable positions.
Napolitano met leaders of the main parties on Friday to try to find a way out of the stalemate, which has created deep uncertainty just as the Cyprus banking crisis has revived fears about the stability of the euro zone.
However with all of the three main groups in parliament clinging to entrenched positions that have prevented a majority being formed in parliament, hopes of a solution that would prevent the need to go back to the polls have faded.
Napolitano's pledge to stay on appears to rule out the threat of a power vacuum with weeks of uncertainty until new elections, which would have to be called within 70 days of parliament being dissolved.