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Presidential tears over Italy's plight

Monday, April 22, 2013 - 02:31

April 23 - Investors welcomed the re-election of Italy's President, raising hopes it could end two months of political deadlock despite mass protests in Rome against the result. Ivor Bennett reports.

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It was an emotional moment for Italy President Giorgio Napolitano. The 87-year-old choking back tears as he was sworn in for a second term. Re-election is unprecedented in Italy - he said he only agreed because of the unprecedented crisis and took his chance to read politicians the riot act. SOUNDBITE (Italian) GIORGIO NAPOLITANO, PRESIDENT OF ITALY, SAYING: "If I find myself once again facing the kind of deafness I ran into in the past, I will not hesitate to draw the consequences before the country." The media welcomed Napolitano's re-election. The result raises hopes of an end to two months of stalemate. HSBC's David Bloom. SOUNDBITE( English) DAVID BLOOM, GLOBAL HEAD OF FOREX, HSBC, SAYING: "Having someone somewhere in power in Italy is definitely a step forward. There is absolutely no doubt about that. What it means is the chances of a grand coalition have gone up, and little notch." Napolitano's desire to avoid another election has made him popular with investors too. Italian stocks rebounded in Monday trading, and bond yields dropped to their lowest level since January. But not everyone's happy, in fact far from it. The result prompted mass demonstrations in Rome with thousands marching through the city in protest. Most are supporters of the anti-establishment 5 star party led by Beppe Grillo. It blames the country's problems on the political old guard. Napolitano, they say, is one of them. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) DEMONSTRATOR GIANLUCA BISOGNO SAYING: "He was not elected by the people. We are fed up with presidents coming from the old political clans, we want a president who really represents the Italian people." (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) DEMONSTRATOR SAMANTHA SAYING: "We are indignant and disgusted because what happened is intolerable. The constitution has been ripped apart." The political deadlock has cost Italy dearly. It's thought the country's lost as much as 1% of its output since February's election. James Bevan from CCLA says it'll take a long time for it to recover. SOUNDBITE (English) JAMES BEVAN, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "I do think there will still be a real issue about foreign direct investment for the Italian economy writ-large. So I would expect domestic demand to remain relatively suppressed and I certainly wouldn't be supporting the domestic retailers." Despite the opposition on the streets, Napolitano does now have the power to form a new government. Potentially as soon as Tuesday. But that relies on rival parties working together, which until now, has proved impossible.

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Presidential tears over Italy's plight

Monday, April 22, 2013 - 02:31