Rome

Chaos-hit centre left asks Napolitano to remain president

PD leader Bersani to quit after election of head of state

Chaos-hit centre left asks Napolitano to remain president

Rome, April 20 - The chaos-hit centre-left Democratic Party (PD) on Saturday asked President Giorgio Napolitano to stay on as head of state after internal rifts sank the two previous candidates the party proposed. PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani said that he would step down from the helm of the biggest party in parliament after the president election on Friday, when around 100 of the centre left's so-called 'grand electors' failed to vote for ex-premier Romano Prodi in the fourth presidential ballot. Bersani presented Prodi's name in an attempt to regain PD unity after many of its lawmakers and representatives of Italy's regions did not vote for the previous candidate he had proposed, former Senate Speaker Franco Marini. Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, which voted for Marini but was staunchly against Prodi becoming president, and outgoing Premier Mario Monti's Civic Choice party also want Napolitano to agree to stay on to end the impasse. Napolitano, 87, has repeatedly said he does not want to serve another term. His current seven-year term ends next month. He is expected to respond to the appeal from the parties before the sixth presidential ballot starts at around 3pm Italian time

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