Rome

Napolitano shades Renzi as most popular pol

President 56%, Renzi 55%, Letta 46%, Berlusconi 24%

Napolitano shades Renzi as most popular pol

Rome, May 17 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano shaded centre-left Democratic Party (PD) rising star Matteo Renzi as Italy's most popular politician in a poll Friday. Napolitano, who has just midwifed an unprecedented left-right coalition government into existence, polled 56% ahead of Florence Mayor Renzi with 55%. PD ex-No.2 and Premier Enrico Letta was on 46% two weeks after taking power while centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party chief Silvio Berlusconi was on 24%, along with the PdL secretary, Angelino Alfano. The PD and PdL are backing Letta's emergency reform government, forced together after two months of post-election stalemate. Comic Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement which came third in the February general election but refused to work with the PD or PdL, is polling at 23% and former premier Mario Monti, head of a centrist party which came fourth, is on 21%.

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