ROME, July 30 (Reuters) - Italian President Giorgio
Napolitano told political parties on Monday to make faster
progress to reform the electoral law and expressed concern over
speculation that there may be an early general election.
Napolitano said in a statement that the parties supporting
Mario Monti's government had neglected an appeal he made early
this month to agree new voting rules, saying their positions had
instead become "more evasive and polemic".
He said a new law was particularly important to reinforce
Italy's international credibility "at a time of persistent grave
difficulties and challenges". Italy's electoral rules are widely
blamed for failing to produce stable, lasting governments.
Italian benchmark borrowing costs are hovering around 6
percent as the euro zone debt crisis shows no sign of easing and
this week Monti is visiting several European capitals to try to
agree ways to calm markets.
Last week Monti - a "technocrat" drafted in after Silvio
Berlusconi resigned from the post last year - urged the parties
to agree on a new electoral law to reassure financial markets of
the stability of a new government after elections scheduled for
spring next year.
All sides say they want to change the current rules,
adopted in 2005, but after weeks of talks, serious disagreements
remain, fuelling market doubt about the capacity of Italy's much
criticised political class to agree significant reforms once
Monti leaves office.
Steadily worsening relations within the right-left ruling
coalition have also led to growing speculation that the
government may soon be brought down and a quick election held in
the autumn, yet Napolitano made clear he would resist this.
He pointed out that he is the only figure who has the
constitutional power to dissolve parliament and called for
"maximum caution and responsibility" from politicians and
commentators in discussions over the future of the government.
(Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)