Vendola says will resign if convicted of corruption

Trial judgement in abuse of office case next week

Vendola says will resign if convicted of corruption

Bari, October 25 - Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola said Thursday that he will resign if convicted next week of corruption and abuse of office. The decision in Vendola's trial has been postponed to October 31 in a case that includes the former head of the health board in Bari, Lea Cosentino. "A conviction, even in relation to abetting abuse of office, for me it would be a point of no return," said Vendola. "It would mark my departure from public life," he said, adding that a favourable verdict next week, however, would uphold his "total innocence". Earlier in the day, prosecutors in southern Italy called for a 20-month sentence for Vendola, leader of the left-wing Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party. He stands accused of unlawfully appointing a local chief of surgeons, Paolo Sardelli, at Bari's San Paolo hospital in 2010. Prosecutors requested the same sentence for Cosentino, whom Vendola fired in 2010 after she was placed under house arrest during a graft investigation. Vendola has said the case against him is based solely on testimony from Cosentino. "She is accusing me due to her strong resentment," he said.

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