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Italian President Says Not to Serve Second Term
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Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi said he will not serve a second term.

"I'm convinced that seven years up here (in the president's palace) are already a lot, another seven would ... perhaps mean a kind of republican monarchy," the 85-year-old president told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Tuesday.

"Fortunately, age is on my side and in a certain sense rules out the possibility of a second mandate," Ciampi said.

He stressed that he would not be retiring from the political scene altogether since, like all former presidents, he would become a life senator.

"I will continue to follow the country's political and institutional developments... and make my contribution," he added, whose seven-year mandate expires on May 18.

Politicians of all stripes have urged Ciampi to consider a second term.

The calls have grown following the uncertain political climate created by Premier Silvio Berlusconi's refusal to admit defeat in Italy's April 9/10 election.

Many political observers expressed hope that Ciampi, a former premier and Bank of Italy governor, would stay on to help steer Italy through the post-election battling.

Italian Supreme Court must deliver a final verdict on the vote outcome this week, according to the report.

Then the incoming parliament is scheduled to elect a president on May 12-13 and Ciampi has made it clear that he wants his successor to appoint the new premier.

Italian presidents are elected by parliament. A two thirds majority is needed, meaning that in practice a head of state cannot be chosen by the governing majority alone.

(Xinhua News Agency April 19, 2006)

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