Italian politicians have gathered in Rome to vote for a new president, but with political stalemate still in effect the new leader will face the difficult task of trying to get the nation’s political parties to agree to form some sort of government.
Italy, the Eurozone’s third largest economy has been stuck without a government for seven weeks after the country’s general election ended in an impasse. Current President Giorgio Napolitano is stepping down as his seven-year term comes to an end. Napolitano was the man responsible for agreeing with the EU to appoint Prime Minister Mario Monti to head a technocratic government following the collapse of Silvio Berlusconi’s administration in 2011.
Following the theme of political infighting and an inability to agree upon anything, Italy’s politicians had a tough time choosing candidates. The centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani is backing former senate speaker Franco Marini for the presidency but his main rival within his own party the mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi has said that appointing Mr Marini as president would ‘be a disservice to Italy’ and described the 80-year old Marini as ‘a candidate from the last century’ who had no charisma or international standing, adding that he was only chosen because he was acceptable to Berlusconi.
Two rounds of voting will be held every day until the weekend, with a two-thirds majority or 672 of the 1,007 electors needed in the first three rounds. The PD, which controls the lower house, has the largest number of electors with 430, ahead of the PDL with 211 and the 5-Star Movement with 162.
If no candidate succeeds in the initial rounds, the required threshold drops to a simple majority from the fourth round. But it is unclear whether Marini would remain in the race or drop out if he failed to secure the two-thirds majority.
It is thought that if Marini fails to win the vote then the PD would abandon hopes of making a deal with the centre-right and could see the country resort to holding another election within months adding to the sense of uncertainty in the Eurozone, something that will weaken the Euro further against its rivals.
As of 14:30 pm GMT
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