'In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed.' Angels hold no brief for the Italian Democratic Party or its erstwhile candidate premier. Nonetheless, Pierluigi Bersani has been most seriously wronged, as has the Democratic Party and its voters. It was not for President Napolitano to act as he has. Bersani should meet Parliament and see of he can muster a vote of confidence in both Houses, not have Parliament second-guessed by Napolitano. Italy is not the France of the Fifth Republic (yet).
Bersani has an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies (the Lower House). He can table and carry a motion of no confidence in the Monti administration as soon as he likes. At that point Napolitano will be forced to get out of the way, together with his ten Dead White Men, and Bersani will face the Parliament, to be accepted or rejected by the proper body. Bersani has not returned to Napolitano (to Napolitano's reported extreme irritation) the mandate he has held since the President's earlier consultations. With Monti voted out he is freed and, almost certainly, would be able to find the dozen votes he needs in the Senate.
So why doesn't Bersani act? Yes his party is split but for this power-taking operation it might well reunite. Yes a great wound would open in Italian institutions of governance between the Parliament and the Presidency but, frankly, Napolitano has asked for it by putting himself into such a position, and will be gone within weeks anyway. Parliamentary sovereignty should not have been encroached like this. The real reason Bersani won't do it is because he hasn't got the guts Napolitano has, and he's backed down. If Bersani wants office he's got the mandate and the votes but he has to take it.