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By Paolo Biondi
ROME, Sept 21 Fabrizio Saccomanni, the deputy
governor of the Bank of Italy, is likely to be named soon to
take the top job when his boss Mario Draghi leaves to become
head of the European Central Bank at the end of October.
A political source from the ruling majority told Reuters
that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will propose Saccomanni as
the next BOI chief when he meets the head of state Giorgio
Napolitano later on Wednesday.
"Berlusconi will indicate Saccomanni as Draghi's successor,"
said the source, who asked not to be named.
Berlusconi said in Brussels at the end of June that
Saccomanni was one of three three candidates to replace Draghi,
along with Treasury Director General Vittorio Grilli and Italy's
ECB executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi.
However in recent weeks 68 year-old Saccomanni, who is
widely considered to be Draghi's favourite candidate, has
emerged as the clear favourite, political sources say.
Grilli's chances have diminished because his main sponsor,
Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti has fallen from Berlusconi's
graces and become increasingly isolated in the ruling coalition
as Italy has become embroiled in the euro zone debt crisis.
Bini Smaghi, whose term at the ECB does not end until 2013,
has been one of the most influential ECB board members and is
viewed as a particularly strong candidate outside Italy, but he
lacks political support at home.
Saccomanni has spent his professional life at the Bank of
Italy since joining in 1967, interrupted by stints at the
International Monetary Fund from 1970-1975 and as vice president
of the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development from 2003-2006.
Saccomanni, who keeps a low public profile, has always been
a strong advocate of European Monetary Union and was involved in
the preparation of the single currency project at the European
levels in the 1990s.
He seldom speaks publicly about market-sensitive issues and
does not have a clear profile either as an inflation hawk or a
(Writing by Gavin Jones; editing by Ron Askew)