Italy president says will step down soon

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 31, 2014 2:54 PM

ROME (Reuters) - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said on Wednesday he planned to step down soon, leaving Prime Minister Matteo Renzi facing his most difficult political challenge since he took power about 10 months ago.

Renzi will now have to steer an acceptable candidate through the complicated process of electing a new president, or else raise doubts about his ability to push through economic reforms and planned changes to the constitution and electoral system.

"I'm about to step down, resigning as the constitution allows," the 89-year-old Napolitano said during the president's traditional end-year television address, saying his age was making it increasingly difficult for him to do is job.

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(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)