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Giuliani may not challenge mayor term limits law

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NEW YORK — Mayor Rudolph Giuliani Monday appeared at least for now to rule out seeking a repeal of term limits law so he can keep his job and continue to lead New York's recovery from the World Trade Center attacks.

Published reports quoted unidentified friends of the mayor as saying Giuliani, whose second four-year term ends Dec. 31, wanted to stay in office beyond 2001. But the mayor Monday urged voters to cast their ballots for candidates already registered for Tuesday's mayoral primaries.

"It's a very important decision, and I haven't had time to think about it," the Republican incumbent, who is barred by law from a third consecutive term, said at a news conference.

"Until I have had time to think about it, I'm not going to talk about it. I'm not ready to make a statement now."

Since the Sept. 11 attacks by hijacked airliners that destroyed the World Trade Center, killing thousands and seriously damaging the economy, there has been an outpouring of support for the compassion and leadership shown by the usually brash, tough-talking Giuliani.

But for Giuliani, 57, to run again, either the New York State Legislature or the New York City Council would have to pass a bill repealing the term limits law. Former federal prosecutor Giuliani was elected in November 1993 and re-elected in November 1997.

City voters approved term limits in 1993 and 1996 referendums.

The attacks on the 110-story twin towers that left more than 6,500 people confirmed dead or missing happened on primary day. The elections were quickly canceled and rescheduled to Sept. 25. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 6.

"If they (people) want to vote, they should choose between the candidates that are there," said Giuliani, referring to the primaries with four Democratic candidates and two Republicans vying for their party's nomination to succeed him. "It doesn't make any sense to write my name in."

A campaign for voters to write in Giuliani's name on the ballot gained popularity last week and was even suggested by New York State Gov. George Pataki, a Republican.

A few days after the attack, Giuliani said he was flattered by calls for him to continue in City Hall, but he believed the elections should go ahead as planned without him. However, at the end of last week, he said adjusting the law should be discussed.