2nd ballot to elect Italy's Prez fails, but strong candidatures start emerging

by IANS |

Rome, Jan 26 (IANS) A second ballot to elect Italy's new President took place in the parliament, delivering no results as it occurred in the first round.

The second ballot to elect new President took place on Tuesday while the first round was held on Monday. Out of 976 votes totally cast, 527 were blank ballots.

Yet, talks within and between the two main coalitions -- center-left and center-right -- intensified alongside the proceedings, helping clear the way for the first strong candidatures, Xinhua news agency reported.

The center-right bloc, led by the right-wing League party and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, submitted three possible names: former judge Carlo Nordio, philosopher and former Senate Speaker, Marcello Pera, and Letizia Moratti, former Mayor of Milan.

The center-left coalition, led by Democratic Party and Five Star Movement, did not agree on them, but stated that it would refrain from submitting names in order to facilitate a broad agreement.

In addition, it proposed a direct meeting with the center-right's leaders on Wednesday to outline a figure that both coalitions could perceive as truly non-partisan.

Italy's constitution requires a majority of two-thirds in the first three rounds, followed by a simple majority from the fourth on.

Overall, some 1,008 "grand electors" take part in the choice of the Head of state, namely all the members of parliament plus 58 representatives chosen by regional councils.

The person elected will replace President Sergio Mattarella whose seven-year term officially ends on February 3.

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