Italy President sets March 10 as possible date for national elections

Italy President sets March 10 as possible date for national elections

PanARMENIAN.Net - Italy's president indicated on Friday, November 16 that he was open to holding national elections on March 10 - a month earlier than foreseen - if parliament passes key legislation first, Reuters reported.

Markets have been awaiting a signal on when the elections might be because of their desire that the next government continue economic reforms to overcome the debt crisis started by Prime Minister Mario Monti's year-old technocrat administration.

The elections in the euro zone's third-largest economy are due in spring after the end of parliament's five-year term and the date of the vote had been widely expected to be in early April, with April 7 the most touted date until now.

After meeting the speakers of parliament, President Giorgio Napolitano issued a statement saying he believed that elections for local governments in three Italian regions - Lazio, Molise and Lombardy - should be held on March 10.

But he also said Italians should be spared "a frantic succession of elections" if possible, indicating that the national vote could be held on the same date.

Napolitano, who is the only person who can dissolve parliament and call early elections, said he wanted parliament to pass the 2013 budget before he makes his definitive decision.

The president also re-stated his hope that parliament could approve changes to Italy's convoluted election law before the end of the legislature.

The law, known as "the pigsty" because it is so messy, enables party leaders to handpick members of parliament and guarantees a strong majority to the winning coalition, however small their share of the vote.

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