* Grillo wants change to "pigsty" electoral law
* Calls for cancellation of vote expenses, two-term limit
* President urges parties not to rule out deals
By Naomi O'Leary
ROME, March 2 The 5-Star Movement that emerged
as Italy's largest party after a deadlocked election might
support a government if it changed electoral law, cut
politicians' expenses and set a two-term limit for
parliamentarians, its leader has told a magazine.
Parties have been wrangling over how to form a government as
neither 5-Star, the centre-left group led by Democratic Party
(PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani nor the centre-right group led by
People of Freedom (PDL) party head Silvio Berlusconi won full
control of parliament in this week's vote.
"If Bersani's PD and Berlusconi's PDL suggest an immediate
change in the electoral law, cancellation of election expenses
reimbursement, and a maximum of two terms for any deputies - we
would of course support such a government immediately," comic
Beppe Grillo told German magazine Focus in an interview
published on Saturday.
"But they won't do that. They are just bluffing to win
time," Grillo added.
"If we get into parliament we would bring the old system
down, not because we would enjoy doing so but because the system
In a blog posted on his website, Grillo said his party would
not give a vote of confidence to any government but would only
consider backing individual laws.
A majority of parliamentarians must back confidence votes -
which are called regularly in Italy's parliament as a way of
speeding through laws - in order for a government to keep its
In a statement on Saturday, Italian President Giorgio
Napolitano urged parties to be realistic and not to
categorically rule out making agreements with each other.
"We all have a duty to safeguard the public interest and the
international image of the country," he said.
Napolitano, whose term ends in May and whose successor must
be appointed by parliament, has ruled out a return to the polls.
On Friday Bersani said he would present a programme based
around a limited number of points, many of them in line with
Grillo's platform, and seek the support of parliament.
"You can call it what you want, a minority government, a
government of limited purpose, I don't care," Bersani told
newspaper La Repubblica.
Changing the electoral law known as "the pigsty", which
makes it difficult for parties to form stable governments, has
been called for by both the centre right and centre left.
Currently, the party that wins the most votes nationally is
awarded at least 55 percent of seats in the lower house.
However, seats in the Senate are decided in separate regional
votes, which means the party with a majority in the lower house
may not control the upper house, as in the current case.
Both houses have equal lawmaking powers so control of both
is required to govern. The last government, led by Mario Monti,
tried to change the electoral law, but politicians did not
manage to agree on a bill before the government fell in
In the interview with Focus, Grillo described Italy as
"overwhelmed, not by the euro, but by debt" and said he expected
new elections within six months.
He insisted his party would win a majority in a second vote.
"This is a dress rehearsal," he said of this week's election.
Grillo did not himself run for a seat in parliament as he
holds a criminal conviction, which excludes him under his own