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Italian Anti-Mafia Prosecutor Grasso to Run for Democratic Party

Italy’s top anti-mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso said, “Many times as a magistrate I brought ideas to politics, but only a few of them have been put into action.” Photographer: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
Italy’s top anti-mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso said, “Many times as a magistrate I brought ideas to politics, but only a few of them have been put into action.” Photographer: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s top anti-mafia prosecutor Pietro Grasso said today he will run as a candidate for the Democratic Party in national Parliamentary elections in February.

Grasso has requested a leave from his job in order to enter the race, he said today in Rome at a press conference with Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani.

“Many times as a magistrate I brought ideas to politics, but only a few of them have been put into action,” said Grasso, who has been Italy’s top anti-mafia prosecutor since 2005 and previously served as chief prosecutor in Palermo, Italy.

“We chose to put two words -- morality and work -- before the legislature and to make legality a top priority for our country,” said Bersani, whose party leads in opinion polls.

Grasso will lead a district list of party candidates, increasing his chances of winning a seat in Parliament. He also said that no minister in Italy’s so-called technical government, which the Democrats supported, will run in the elections for the party.

Italian caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti, who said Dec. 23 that he would consider being the prime ministerial candidate for a coalition backing his economic agenda, is meeting today in Rome with some his supporters, including Union of Centrists party leader Pier Ferdinando Casini and International Cooperation Minister Andrea Riccardi, Ansa news agency reported without citing anyone.

“There is no point in complaining, we must commit ourselves. Rise up in politics,” Monti wrote in a Twitter post on Christmas day.

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has endorsed Monti’s decision to step in, saying the former European Union commissioner is making an appeal to restore a sense of nobility to Italian politics.

The Democratic Party leads in opinion polls with about 30 percent support, according to a SWG survey published Dec. 21. Still, it might be difficult for the center-left coalition to get a majority in the Senate unless it seeks an alliance with the centrist parties backing Monti’s agenda.

A list led by Monti would get around 15 percent of the vote, according to the same poll.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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