ROME, January 13 (Sputnik) — Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, whose term officially ends in 2020, will step down "within hours," Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Tuesday.
"[Napolitano] will stand down within the next few hours with a long list of achievements to his credit," Renzi stated, speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, as he handed over Italy's presidency of the Council of the European Union to Latvia.
Earlier in the day, local media reported that Napolitano was expected to sign a resignation letter about 11:00 a.m. local time (10:00 GMT) Wednesday.
Napolitano was first elected president in 2006. He agreed in 2013 to serve a second term to resolve deadlocked parliamentary elections that year. However, Napolitano immediately made it clear that he did not exclude the possibility of an early departure from his post as head of state.
According to the Italian Constitution, the president is elected during a joint session of the Italian Parliament's two houses. The presidential term in Italy is seven years.