Italy's caretaker Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni ruled out forming a coalition with Silvio Berlusconi's center-right bloc after the forthcoming Italian election.
Asked whether his center-left Democratic Party (PD) could support a government coalition formed with the center-right bloc made up of Forza Italia, the party of former Prime Minister Berlusconi, and Lega Nord (a Euroskeptic party), Gentiloni gave an emphatic "no."
The comment is interesting given that Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said earlier in January that a coalition between Italy's main left- and right-wing parties could not be ruled out if no clear winner emerged from the general election on March 4.
"To answer your question directly, no I would not be interested (in forming coalition with Berlusconi's center-right bloc)"
Gentiloni added that the expected outcome of a hung parliament in March would not be good for the country.
"We hope this will not be the case and that the center-left that I represent will have a majority, " he said. "In any case I think we will be the pillar of a possible coalition and we have certain expertise in flexibility in politics in my country," Gentiloni added.
"But I think that the populist anti-EU position will not prevail and that Italy will keep its stability," he said.
Italian elections will be held on March 4 and if there is no clear winner, a coalition government will have to be formed meaning potentially more political uncertainty and economic instability for the euro zone's third-largest economy.