Rome Mayor Withdraws Resignation, Prolonging Political Chaos

  • Mayor says he wants `democratic' confrontation in city council
  • Marino's move heightens tensions within Premier Renzi's party

Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino withdrew his resignation just three weeks after first announcing he’d leave, prolonging political tensions within Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party.

“I am ready to face my majority,” Marino told reporters Thursday evening outside City Hall. “That is the place of democracy.”

Marino, 60, a former transplant surgeon elected mayor in June 2013 with the Democratic Party, had resigned Oct. 12 following pressure over alleged expense account irregularities. The mayor repeatedly denied allegations that he wrongfully used a city council credit card. In an Oct. 7 statement Marino said he spent less than 20,000 euros ($22,000) on the card and always for official business.

The resignation and subsequent withdrawal heighten the conflict with Premier Renzi, who asked Marino to leave office. The Democratic Party, or PD, said earlier Thursday its city councilors would resign if Marino exercised his legal right to withdraw his resignation within 20 days.

The mayor’s administration has been dogged by controversy, from a corruption investigation which led to the arrest of several city councilors, to complaints from the opposition over Marino’s recent trip to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis. The controversy also threatens preparations for a special Holy Year called by the pope from December 2015 to November 2016, which will bring millions of pilgrims to the city.

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