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Napolitano saves Italian politics from further embarrassment

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Napolitano saves Italian politics from further embarrassment

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Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has agreed to last-minute pleas for him to stand for a second term as president.

Party leaders held meetings with the 87-year-old after parliament failed for a fifth time to agree on his successor.

Napolitano was ready to stand down on May 15, but due to “ the grave situation that has arisen with successive votes,” he has been asked to reconsider his decision, says his office.

All parties look set to rubber stamp his second term when a sixth vote gets underway later, except Beppo Grillo’s Five Star Movement.

If re-elected Napolitano will be key in helping to form a new government for Italy after inconclusive results in the February election.

Italian politics is gridlock at a time of recession, high unemployment and falling living standards.