Marini 'declines Bersani prod to pull out'

'Marsican Wolf' counting on simple majority in fourth ballot

Marini 'declines Bersani prod to pull out'

Rome, April 18 - Ex-Senate Speaker Franco Marini has declined a suggestion from his Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani to pull out of the race for Italian president after he failed to win in the first ballot, sources close to the PD said Thursday. The PD leader, who is trying to quell a party rebellion sparked by the candidacy of 80-year-old Marini, seen as a representative of a discredited old guard, reportedly sounded out the former Senator and ex-union leader after he did not reach an expected three-thirds majority in the first vote. Marini, who earned the nickname 'Marsican Wolf', a tough symbol of his native Abruzzo highlands, for his tenacity in his union days, was said to have responded that he was confident of success in the fourth ballot Friday afternoon, when a simple majority will suffice. He was reportedly banking on the solid support of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, which helped him to 521 votes in the first round of voting. The majority required in the fourth ballot is 504.

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