President Napolitano's office says he won't remain

Italian head of state denies interest in second term

President Napolitano's office says he won't remain

Rome, February 21 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has no interest in standing for a second term, his office said in a statement Thursday. Following national elections Sunday and Monday, the new government will select a new president, said the statement from the office of Napolitano, who is completing his seven-year term in May. "The Parliament in joint session with representatives of the regions will elect a new president of the republic," said the note from the presidential Quirinal Palace. "He appreciates and thanks those with confidence in him to serve a second term". On Wednesday, outgoing Premier Mario Monti said that he was backing Emma Bonino, who, like him, is a former European commissioner, to become Italy's next president. Bonino, 64, is a leading member of the small Radical party that promotes economic and social liberalism and champions human-rights issues. Monti has said it would be a "great idea" to elect a woman as next Italian president. Italy has never had a woman premier or president.

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