ROME, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday turned down the possibility of early elections were the government to collapse in autumn.
Despite acknowledging that the governing coalition is facing a "serious conflict" in an interview to left-wing daily L'Unit, Napolitano said he will avoid calling for an early vote because it would damage the country by jeopardizing its weak economic growth.
If the Italian voters were to vote before the current legislature expired in 2013, this would be a disaster in the president's view: "If we face a political void and head towards a fierce electoral contest, what would be the consequences for the country?"
Berlusconi's coalition is no longer solid after the rift with his former ally, House Speaker Gianfranco Fini, who decided to found a new group called the Future and Freedom for Italy.
Rather than a slow agony Berlusconi said he preferred early elections, warning that the future of the current government will be decided in September when he will present a 4-point strategic document to the House, on which the premier intends to put a vote of confidence to test the stability of his coalition.
But Napolitano assured in the interview that he would "take every step which the constitution dictates" him in finding a technical, temporary government if Berlusconi's loses the vote of confidence.
The premier's People of Freedom party has already ruled out the creation of a caretaker government, strongly supported by the opposition Democratic Party.
Napolitano's words thus triggered an inevitable, severe political rumble, considering the crucial fact that the Italian constitution grants the head of state the supreme power to dissolve parliament and call new elections only after he has acknowledged the impossibility of reaching an agreement between parties.
For the members of People of Freedom party, the head of state made a mistake to intervene in the political debate because his institutional role imposed him to remain "super-parties," above all the factions. They accuse Napolitano, a former member of the Communist Party, of wanting to pave the way for a left-wing government in alliance with Fini's new group.