Prodi may not heal PD divisions

Fears D'Alema, Marini loyalists may rebel against party line

Prodi may not heal PD divisions

(see related stories) Rome, April 19 - The centre left's decision to make two-time premier Romano Prodi the Democratic Party's (PD) presidential candidate may not suffice to heal its internal rifts. Pier Luigi Bersani proposed former European Commission president Prodi after the PD's first candidate, ex-Senate Speaker Franco Marini, failed to prevail in the first presidential ballot on Thursday because of an internal party rift. There are fears Prodi's bid could also be scuppered by PD members not voting for him though. Several lawmakers close to Marini are said to be upset at him being dropped, ANSA sources said. A number of parliamentarians loyal to former premier Massimo D'Alema are irked too. They are said to be unhappy that Bersani only presented Prodi to the party as a possible alternative to Marini rather than giving a shortlist of options, including D'Alema. On a positive note for Bersani, Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola, the leader of the leftwing SEL that was allied with the PD in February's inconclusive general election, has reportedly said he is willing to back Prodi. In the first ballot, SEL voted for Constitutional lawyer Stefano Rodota', the candidate of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

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