Leftist leader says Italy faces 'dramatic situation'

Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani on Tuesday said Italy faced a "dramatic situation" after an inconclusive election that has spooked Europe, and called on a new protest party that has made huge inroads to outline its demands.

"We are aware that we are in a dramatic situation, we are aware of the risks that Italy faces," Bersani said in his first speech since the elections on Sunday and Monday.

Bersani also outlined a limited programme of reforms including overhauling the election laws and cutting political costs, asking for other parties in parliament to endorse it.

Analysts have said his coalition could form a wider, short-term coalition with other parties to govern for a few months before possible fresh elections, or try to govern without a wider coalition but with support in parliament from the protest Five Star Movement.

Referring to the movement led by former comedian turned activist Beppe Grillo, Bersani said: "Up until now they've said everyone should go home. Now they too are on the inside. Either they go home or they say what they want to do with the country."