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Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano won't step down early despite rumors

Napolitano denied newspaper reports on Saturday that claimed he was stepping down early to help resolve Italy's political stalemate.

Giorgio napolitano presidentEnlarge
Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano gives a press conference on March 30, 2013 at the Quirinale, the Italian presidential palace in Rome. Italy's president asks 'two groups' to break government impasse. The latest round of talks between political leaders ended with no solution in sight yesterday after the three main political forces proposed different visions for a future government. (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano denied newspaper reports on Saturday that he was planning to step down early to help find a solution to the country's political gridlock.

Italy's constitution prevents the president from dissolving parliament and calling for new elections in the last six months of his term.

Napolitano's tenure as president is expected to end on May 15.

He told reporters Saturday that the failure of political parties to reach agreement on forming a new government after last month's deadlocked elections had shown that his options were limited.

However he added that: "until the final day, I can at least contribute to creating conditions that are more favorable to the aim of unblocking a political situation which has ended up with irreconcilable positions."

Italian elections in February left the country with a 3-way split between the left, the right, and a populist party led by comedian Beppe Grillo. The split means that no party has enough seats as they would need to govern.

The Senate, the primary seat of power, is split between center-left politician Pier Luigi Bersani's party, which won a narrow majority, and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition.

Bersani and Berlusconi have said they will not work together and Grillo has declined to form any coalitions.

On Saturday, Napolitano announced he will be assembling "two small groups of personalities" to formulate "precise programme proposals" that would form the basis for a new cabinet.

"I want to underline one more time the need for all political parties to demonstrate their full awareness of the gravity and urgency of the problems facing the country," Napolitano told the BBC.

Pasquale Cascella, the president's spokesman, told CNN that these groups would be "facilitators of the political solution, a model already adopted by countries like Belgium and Holland."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/italy/130330/italys-president-giorgio-napolitano-wont-step-down-early-d