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Leftist leader Pier Luigi Bersani is expected to receive a formal invitation to attempt to form Italy's next government after he was summoned to a meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday at 1600 GMT.
The meeting follows talks between political leaders aimed at resolving the deadlock created by elections in which the centre-left won the most votes but failed to get a majority in parliament.
"President Napolitano has convoked Pier Luigi Bersani to the Quirinal Palace," the president's office said in a statement, referring to the presidential residence.
Bersani, a former Communist who now holds liberal economic views, leads the main centre-left Democratic Party, which narrowly won elections last month against Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right.