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Italy's president dissolves parliament, paves way for early vote

By Marzia De Giuli (Xinhua)

08:35, December 24, 2012

ROME, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano on Saturday dissolved parliament after a series of consultations with party leaders, which came following the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Monti.

"I have signed the decree of parliament dissolution, which was the obvious conclusion and already marked by facts," Napolitano told a press conference after the round of meetings.

He recalled Monti's announcement of early resignation on Dec. 8 after former premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom party (PdL) withdrew support from the emergency cabinet.

In the lapse of time between Monti's step back and the vote, which was just set to be held on Feb. 24-25, the caretaker government is due to remain in place for acts of ordinary administration.

Napolitano wished that the upcoming electoral campaign will be held with "competitive but also constructive spirit" shared by all political forces.

"The phase of the Monti technocratic government is closed, we are going to the polls ... we are aware that Italy now deserves a second phase" made of "progressive policies and reforms," the leader in the parliament lower chamber of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), Dario Franceschini, said after meeting Napolitano.

Franceschini thanked Monti, who handed in his formal resignation on Friday following the approval of the 2013 budget law, "for putting his international credibility to the service of the country."

The PD, which has a strong lead in the opinion polls, has promised to maintain the "agenda" of deficit reduction targets that the former European Commissioner has agreed with the EU while implementing more growth-oriented policies to stimulate Italy's stagnant economy.

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