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Bookies see Prodi as next president

Berlusconi seen as almost certain loser at 60-1

(ANSA) - Rome, January 15 - Foreign bookies are busy taking bets on who is to be the next president of Italy after Giorgio Napolitano stepped down Wednesday, sources said Thursday.
    The top candidates are all from the center-left Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Matteo Renzi, with former premier Romano Prodi favored to win at 3.5-1, followed by former Rome mayor and PD leader Walter Veltroni at 5-1 and Massimo D'Alema, another ex-premier and PD heavyweight, at 8-1. Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso, who is currently also serving as interim president, has longer odds at 10-1, as do Turin PD Mayor and former centre-left leader Piero Fassino, PD Senate whip Anna Finocchiaro, and jurist Stefano Rodotà, an independent and former member of the Radical Party and the PD.
    Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti is a long shot at 13-1, followed by former premier and one-time Socialist Party No.2 Giuliano Amato at 15-1.
    Pier Ferdinando Casini, who leads the small centrist UDC party, and current PD Culture Minister Dario Franceschini are both at 25-1.
    Those deemed least likely to fill the post are former foreign minister Emma Bonino, a historic member of the Radical Party who recently bowed out of the race with the announcement she is fighting breast cancer (50-1) and former center-right premier and Forza Italia (FI) chief Silvio Berlusconi (60-1).


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