Bonino eyes presidency


The European Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, Ms Emma Bonino, is seeking to become Italy's first woman president, a source in the right-wing Radical Party said yesterday.

"If there is a movement in favour of re-establishing law in the country and parliament, I will not run from my responsibilities," Ms Bonino told a party meeting on Saturday, the source said.

The Italian president is elected for seven years by a college of deputies and senators, but it is rare for candidates to declare themselves. A consensus is generally arrived at following long discussions between political parties, as was the case with Mr Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, elected in 1992 after 16 votes.

If Ms Bonino won, she would be Italy's first woman head of state. A feminist, the EU Commissioner supports abortion, divorce, conscientious objectors, homosexual rights, abolition of the death penalty, de-penalising soft drugs and north-south equality.