Monday April 1, 2013
ECB’s Draghi phones Napolitano over quit reports
ROME: European Central Bank president Mario Draghi phoned Italian President Giorgio Napolitano after media reports that the 87-year-old head of state was planning to resign early to clear the way for new elections, newspapers reported yesterday.
Napolitano pledged on Saturday that he would stay in office until the end of his term on May 15 following reports that he planned to step down to break the deadlock created by last month's election, which left no party able to form a government.
The move would be needed to allow Italy to return to the polls before the summer holiday period, because of constitutional provisions which prevent a president from dissolving parliament in the final months of his mandate.
The main newspapers yesterday all reported that Draghi had called Napolitano to express concern that his resignation would leave Italy without leadership at a time of mounting tension in financial markets, exacerbated by the bank crisis in Cyprus.
An ECB spokesman declined to comment. No comment was immediately available from Napolitano's office.
Rumours have been circulating for days that Moody's is preparing to cut its rating on Italy's sovereign debt, which is already only two notches above “junk” grade, partly due to the uncertain political outlook. Reuters