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Prodi to be centre left's new Italian president candidate

Marini scuppered by internal PD revolt Thursday

19 April, 10:13
Prodi to be centre left's new Italian president candidate (ANSA) - Rome, April 19 - Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani proposed presenting Romano Prodi to be the next Italian president on Friday, when the former European Commission president and twice Italian premier won unanimous approval at a Democratic Party (PD) meeting.

The move should restore some degree of unity to the PD, the biggest group in parliament following February's inconclusive election, after an internal revolt scuppered the chances of the party's previous candidate, former Senate speaker Franco Marini, in the first day of voting on Thursday.

But the decision has prompted fierce opposition from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, which had backed Marini in the first ballot of Lower and Upper House lawmakers and representatives of Italy's regions. Prodi, a 73-year-old former economics professor, is seen as the nemesis of three-time premier Berlusconi after defeating him in elections in 1996 and 2006.