Italy's newly elected Parliament convenes amid stalemate on chamber leaders

Italy's newly elected Parliament was heading toward political gridlock as it meets for the first time after inconclusive elections gave no party a clear victory.

Investors will keep a close eye on the inaugural session Friday when both chambers will vote for leaders. Only then can Italy's president open talks on forming a government, expected next week.

Even before Parliament opened, the parties were locked in a stalemate.

Center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani, whose coalition came first in Feb.24-25 elections, said his lawmakers will cast blank ballots after failing to persuade comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo's 5 Star Movement, which finished third, to cooperate on a leadership strategy. The anti-establishment movement will only vote for its own candidates — which cannot guarantee a winner.

Voting was expected to continue Saturday.