Italian lawmakers began voting on Thursday for their nation’s new President, a step toward resolving the political impasse that has blocked formation of a new government for two months.
Political parties have sparred for weeks over suitable candidates to succeed Giorgio Napolitano, whose term expires next month, but center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani and center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi have reportedly now reached agreement.
Franco Marini backed
Former longtime centrist union leader and ex-Senate president Franco Marini is widely reported to be the consensus choice. But Bersani’s party is largely split, and the third biggest force in Parliament, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement led by comic Beppe Grillo, is pushing another candidate, a constitutional law expert.
Voting in joint session for president are both the lower and upper chambers of Parliament plus regional representatives. A two-thirds majority is required in the first three rounds of balloting; after that, a simple majority can elect the head of state. The vote could take several days.AP