Italian deputies call for Kerry win, ask Nader to stand down in election

ROME (AFP) - More than 100 left-wing members of Italy's parliament issued a call at the weekend for the independent candidate Ralph Nader (news - web sites) to stand down in the upcoming US presidential election in order to ensure victory for the Democratic Party candidate John Kerry.
While expressing support for Nader's longstanding battles as a consumer and environmentalist advocate, the 116 deputies said they feared that his insistence on running as an independent candidate in November's election could split the vote and cost Kerry the presidency.
"Dear Ralph Nader, we are a group of Italian politicians who appreciate your battles on behalf of US consumers and citizens since the 1970's", said the letter.
"Despite your intentions, which are no doubt the best possible ... your candidacy could mean defeat for John Kerry, who we are following with much hope," it went on.
"Precisely because, as Europeans, we are also committed to the United States ... we ask you today not to give George W. Bush a second chance, which would be costly for your country and the whole international community," the letter said.
"In a world which is ever more interdependent, the choice that will guide the most powerful country on Earth will have deep and durable repercussions," it said.
"Which is why we ask you to withdraw your candidacy for the White House and give your support, even with reservations, to John F. Kerry."
The letter was signed by many of the top leaders of Italy's centre-left opposition, and notably by Francesco Rutelli, Luciano Violante, Paolo Cento and Pietro Folena.
However two leading members of the Left Democrats party, Massimo d'Alema and Piero Fassino, did not sign the appeal.
Nader, 70, ran as an independent candidate in the 2000 election that brought Bush to power, and he is also running in the current contest.
Some critics have claimed that by drawing votes away from the Democratic candidate Al Gore (news - web sites) in 2000, he allowed Bush to win.