Italy's Berlusconi decides against running for president
Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi decided against running for president, he said in a statement on Saturday, removing an obstacle to cross-party
negotiations ahead of the vote in parliament on Jan. 24.
The nomination of Prime Minister Mario Draghi is seen as the most probable outcome, but it is still unclear whether the broad sweep of parties that support his coalition will endorse him for fear his departure could trigger an early national election.
Berlusconi said he wanted the former European Central Bank president to remain at the helm of the government until the natural end of the legislature, in 2023.
"I have decided to take another step on the road to national responsibility, asking those who proposed it to renounce indicating my name for the Presidency of the Republic," Berlusconi said.
The rightist coalition had asked Berlusconi to run for president, but his bid was unlikely to be successful due to difficulties in mustering the broad support traditionally needed among the more than 1,000 lawmakers and regional delegates involved.