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Greek gas company sale stalled, EU-IMF rescue lenders renew inspection

ATHENS, Greece - Greece's troubled privatization program suffered a blow Monday after the Russian energy giant Gazprom withdrew its interest in buying the natural gas firm DEPA, citing fears over the Greek company's future finances. The news, announced as a delegation from Greece's international creditors returned to Athens for a new round of inspections, hammered stocks in Greece, with the main index closing 4.7 per cent lower.

Italy centre-left leader Bersani to resign shortly

Italy's centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani on Friday told members of his party he would step down following a failure to push through his preferred candidate for president. Earlier on Friday, a rebellion in the leftist ranks resulted in a bitter blow for Bersani as his candidate, former premier Romano Prodi, failed to win sufficient votes to win a secret parliamentary ballot. jlv/ric/bm

Bersani expected to quit as centre-left party leader - official

ROME (Reuters) - Pier Luigi Bersani is expected to step down shortly as leader of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), a senior PD official said on Friday. "I believe Bersani will resign," said PD executive committee member Matteo Orfini as he entered a meeting of the party's parliamentarians. On Friday scores of party rebels disobeyed Bersani's instructions to vote for former Prime Minister Romano Prodi in an election for head of state, having also scuppered a different candidate proposed by Bersani on Thursday.

Centre-left head Bersani says to quit after Italy president picked

ROME (Reuters) - Italian centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani told his Democratic Party on Friday he would resign as soon as a new head of state is elected, Italian news agencies reported. On Friday scores of party rebels disobeyed Bersani's instructions to vote for former Prime Minister Romano Prodi in an election for head of state, having also scuppered a different candidate proposed by Bersani on Thursday.

Italy's Bersani says conditions exist for agreement on president

ROME (Reuters) - Italian centre left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said on Wednesday rival parties may be able to reach an agreement on the election of the next president of the Republic. "It seems to me that the search for a commonly shared solution has reached a good point. I believe the conditions exist to put forward a proposal to the parliamentary groups that meet this evening," Bersani said in statement.

Italy's Bersani says bid to form government over, new phase begins

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said on Tuesday his bid to form a government after last month's deadlocked election was over and a new phase had begun, after his failure to gather enough support to win a confidence vote. "My task has been ended in this new phase," Bersani told reporters, after President Giorgio Napolitano summoned a special group of 10 "wise men" to propose a basic set of reforms to be backed by all parties.

URGENT ¥¥¥ Italy leftist Bersani loses bid to form new government

Italian leftist leader Pier Luigi Bersani on Thursday said he had failed in his bid to form a new government following last month's inconclusive elections, leaving Italy in political limbo. "My work in these days has not led to a positive result," Bersani said after talks with President Giorgio Napolitano who is now expected to choose a different figure to lead Italy. dt/bm

Italian president at centre of storm as deadlock continues

By James Mackenzie ROME (Reuters) - Italy's 87-year-old President Giorgio Napolitano will face the greatest test of his career during his final weeks in office as he tries to end the standoff preventing a new government being formed more than a month after elections. Following widespread reports he may resign to open the way for a new vote, Napolitano pledged to remain in office at the Quirinale palace until his term ends on May 15, averting the immediate threat of further turmoil.

URGENT ¥¥¥ Leftist Bersani gets nod to form Italy government: president

Leftist leader Pier Luigi Bersani got the formal go-ahead on Friday to try to form Italy's next government even though his coalition failed to win an overall majority in parliament in elections last month. "I have asked Bersani to verify whether he has the parliamentary support required to form a new government. He will refer back to me as soon as possible," President Giorgio Napolitano said after two days of consultations with political leaders. dt/boc

Italy president asks Bersani to see if can form government

By James Mackenzie and Barry Moody ROME (Reuters) - President Giorgio Napolitano asked centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani on Friday to assess whether he can win enough support in Italy's divided parliament to form a government and end the political deadlock left by elections last month.
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