Italian government could collapse as soon as 2014

Former comedian turned politician Beppe Grillo has said Italy is “heading towards an economic catastrophe” and said another election should be called if Enrico Letta’s government cannot sort out the country quickly.

Meanwhile, analysts at Societe Generale have forecast Italy’s GDP to contract by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter of the year. They add that concern remains that the current government will have a short shelf life, and could consider calling an election as soon as 2014.

Grillo is the leader of Italy’s Five Star movement, and won considerable support at the general elections earlier this year. Prime minister Letta is a member of the Democratic Party (PD), which is serving in a coalition with the Freedom People (PdL) movement.

Speaking to president Giorgio Napolitano, Grillo also called for spending cuts for military projects and increases on benefits for pensioners.

The Italian government is already taking significant flak from the threat of a walkout by leaders of the PdL party after the Court of Cassation decided to bring forward the hearing of its leader Silvio Berlusconi on accusations of tax fraud to 30 July 2013.