ROME — Italy's President Francesco Cossiga on Friday asked Interior Minister Oscar Luigi Scalfaro to form a government to replace Bettino Craxi's five-party coalition which collapsed in political feuding.
Scalfaro, a 68-year-old Christian Democrat, said he will begin consultations today aimed at fashioning a coalition with the same parties as Craxi's Socialist-led government.
The prime minister-designate said he will "pacify and clear up" strained relations because the situation is "particularly difficult."
Craxi's coalition, which stays on in a caretaker capacity, also includes the Social Democrats, Republicans and Liberals.
The appointment of Scalfaro was interpreted as Cossiga's assessment that parliamentary elections may be needed a year ahead of schedule to solve the five-week-old political crisis.
Italy's first Socialist prime minister, Craxi set a record for longevity after serving 3 1/2 years. He resigned Thursday after Christian Democrats demanded he turn over his post to them and withdrew from his coalition.