President of the centre-left Lazio regional government Piero Marrazzo has resigned from his post after finding himself at the centre of a high-profile sex scandal.
The former governor, a journalist by profession, suspended himself from office on 25 October after it emerged that he had been blackmailed by four carabinieri policemen over a video showing him with a transsexual prostitute. On 26 October he was diagnosed with acute stress and ordered to take 30 days off work. However he subsequently decided to hand in his resignation, saying that he was no longer useful to the citizens of Lazio. His deputy, Esterino Montino, has taken over as interim president until a new president and council are elected. In theory this should happen on 7-8 March but the opposition is calling for elections to be postponed until later that month when Lazio, along with other regions, had been due to hold elections anyway.
The scandal has put paid to hopes on the centre-left that Marrazzo would serve a second term in office. The main opposition party Partito Democratico (PD) must now find an alternative candidate for the regional presidency. Names that have been circulating over the last few days include former president of Rome province Enrico Gasbarra and Ignazio Marino, the surgeon and outsider candidate in the recent PD leadership race.
Possible candidates on the centre-right include Renata Polverini, secretary of the trade union UGL, the youth minister Giorgia Meloni and senator Andrea Augello.