Italy’s parliament failed to select a president in the fifth ballot as the country’s main parties made a last-minute appeal to Giorgio Napolitano to accept another term.
More than 440 blank ballots were cast as of 1:06 p.m. in Rome, with the leading vote-getter Stefano Rodota -- the candidate of Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star Movement -- at 210, according to TV network SKY TG24. A candidate needs 504 votes to be elected.
Today’s vote comes after Italian Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani failed to build support for ex-Premier and former European Commission President Romano Prodi, who fell short of a simple majority in the fourth ballot. Bersani announced late yesterday he will resign as PD leader after a new president is elected.
The new president of the republic, who will replace Napolitano and serve a seven- year term, will play a key role in ending the political impasse caused by inconclusive elections in February that led to a hung parliament.
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