Italy's 89-year-old president to step down soon

Italy's president says he will resign soon, keeping a promise he made last year when he accepted an unprecedented second term as head of state when squabbling lawmakers couldn't agree on a successor.

Rome: Italy's president says he will resign soon, keeping a promise he made last year when he accepted an unprecedented second term as head of state when squabbling lawmakers couldn't agree on a successor.

President Giorgio Napolitano spoke of the "imminent conclusion of my presidential mandate" as he addressed diplomats yesterday in an end-of-year greeting.

The 89-year-old Napolitano is expected to announce as soon as New Year's Eve that he will leave office when Italy's term at the helm of the rotating European Union presidency ends in mid-January.

When lawmakers re-elected him in the spring of 2013, Napolitano said he wouldn't complete the seven-year term because of his age.

Politicians again are competing to support rival candidates. Persistent bickering within Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Democrats and other parties complicates the process.

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