Rome

Napolitano set to be sworn in for second time as president

Head of State to speak on ending deadlock, Amato tipped as PM

Napolitano set to be sworn in for second time as president

Rome, April 22 - President Giorgio Napolitano will be sworn in as Italy's head of state for the second time on Monday after becoming the country's first president to be re-elected at the weekend. Napolitano is set to speak about how he will approach his second term and how he will try to end the political deadlock Italy has endured since February's inconclusive general election. The ceremony before the lawmakers and regional representatives who elected him on Saturday starts at the Lower House at 17:00 Italian time. He resigned as president earlier on Monday in a formal move to make it possible for him to be sworn in again. The fact that most of the parties in parliament virtually begged the 87-year-old to stay on after failing to a elect a successor is seen as having strengthened his position, as he seeks to get them agree to form a government. He was elected in the sixth ballot after five inconclusive votes because rifts within the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the biggest group in parliament, saw two of its own candidates scuppered. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, the Northern League and outgoing Premier Mario Monti's Civic Choice group also voted for Napolitano to have a second term. Pier Luigi Bersani, who had opposed calls to form a grand coalition with the PD, quit as PD leader following a fiasco that saw former centre-left premier Romano Prodi and former Senate Speaker Franco Marini fail to be elected president. But the PD is now expected to support a so-called 'government of the president', which would also be backed by the PdL, Civic Choice and possibly the Northern League, with a limited mandate to pass some key reforms, including a new electoral law. This administration is set to include institutional figures as well as PD and PdL politicians, unlike Monti's emergency government of unelected technocrats. Giuliano Amato, a senior PD member who had two short stints as premier between 1992 and 1993 and 2000 and 2001, is favourite to lead it. The name of Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso, the former national anti-Mafia chief prosecutor, has been linked to the premier post too. Napolitano was the first former Communist to become Italian president when he was elected for the first time seven years ago. His re-election was staunchly opposed by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), the third-biggest group in parliament. M5S supports staged protests in Rome on Saturday and Sunday and the movement's leader, comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, called it a "coup". He accused the established parties of making secret deals behind closed doors, unlike the M5S, which chose its presidential candidate, Constitutional Lawyer Stefano Rodota', after an online vote of members. "The republic, the one that is said to be democratic and based on work, died yesterday," Grillo said Sunday on his popular blog, which gave life to the Internet-based M5S in 2009.

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