Italy's president has asked Senate speaker Franco Marini to form an interim government in a last-ditch effort to reform election laws ahead of a snap poll, reports the BBC. Marini was invited to head a temporary administration to change Italy's crippling voting system, which privileges small parties and has led to the unmanageable multi-party coalitions that led to PM Romano Prodi's downfall.
Silvio Berlusconi, riding high in the polls, has demanded an immediate election, but Italian political observers say a caretaker government is a near certainty. "Marini will have a narrow majority in the Senate, but you can't have elections with the current system," one political scientist told Bloomberg. The 74-year-old Marini is a former labor union leader.