1st round of Italy` presidential election inconclusive

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1st round of Italy` presidential election inconclusive NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image Play Video

Amit Kumar
Date  30/01/2015
Parliamentarians and regional officials in Italy have failed to elect a new president in the first round of the presidential election in the country.

During the voting, which was held on Thursday, none of the candidates managed to obtain the required majority of two thirds of the votes.

More than half of the nearly 1,009 lawmakers and officials who took part in the presidential election cast a blank ballot.

The second and third rounds of the presidential election are going to be held on Friday. However, they are not expected to result in the election of a president, either.

The fourth round is scheduled for Saturday, January 31. The president will only need a simple majority on the last round to be elected.

The significance of Italy’s presidency
The post of president in Italy is mostly ceremonial. However, it becomes vitally important in times of crisis as the president would be tasked with the formation of a new government at such times in the country by dissolving the parliament, calling elections and picking prime ministers.

Italy`s previous president, Giorgio Napolitano, resigned on January 14, due to advancing age and health issues. His resignation paved the way for the election of a new head of state.

The 89-year-old ex-president used his powers in 2011 amid the euro debt crisis. He managed to replace former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, with Mario Monti.

 The incumbent prime minister’s aspirations

Incumbent Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has proposed constitutional court judge Sergio Mattarella to be the head of state. If all the first three rounds of the presidential election are inconclusive, the nominated candidate will be able to win in the fourth round with a lower threshold of requirements.

Renzi hopes that the Democratic Party and center-left allies support his choice and vote for Mattarella.
 
Renzi’s move, however, faces opposition from Berlusconi.

Berlusconi, who has recently been sentenced to seven years in prison over a sex scandal and abuse of power, announced that his center-right Forza Italia party will not vote for Mattarella.
Renzi has got enough votes on paper to get Mattarella elected in the fourth round. However, if 40-year-old Renzi fails to push Mattarella through in the fourth or fifth round, his authority may be questioned.

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