(photo credit: AP)
Italian Premier Romano Prodi said Friday he would not run again for office when his term ends in 2011, asserting that the country needs "other leaders."
Prodi's center-left coalition won a five-year term in April 2006 elections.
Speaking at the Rome congress of the centrist Margherita, or Daisy party, one of his largest coalition partners, Prodi said that "at the end of the legislature my work will be done."
The premier did not say if he would run again if his term ended early. The center-left's win gave Prodi only a thin majority in parliament and he has been struggling to keep the coalition's fractious parties, which range from Communists to pro-Vatican centrists, together.
Last month, Prodi resigned briefly and was forced to seek a new confidence vote after some far-leftist allies refused to back the government in a vote on Italy's military mission in Afghanistan and other foreign policy. A repeat of the crisis could lead to early elections.
Prodi made his comments at what is a closely watched political event that is laying the groundwork for a merger between the Margherita and the Democrats of the Left, the largest party in the center-left.
Prodi has been pushing for the creation of the new group, the Democratic Party, to help simplify a political system characterized by a high number of parties and create more stability in the country.
Attending the Margherita congress was former Premier Silvio Berlusconi, who heads the center-right opposition.