Italy Parliament Fails to Elect President in Fifth Ballot

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 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.

Napolitano, who said that main party leaders asked him to accept a new term, will give his decision before the next ballot, according to an e-mailed statement. Napolitano met with representatives of the Democratic Party, People of Liberty party and Northern League party as well as Prime Minister Mario Monti today, according to the statement. The sixth round of voting will be held at 3 p.m. in Rome.

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 failed to produce a viable ruling coalition and led to a hung parliament. Italy has since had political deadlock.

Comedian’s Forces

Bersani, who controls Italy’s lower house of parliament, needs help from forces led by comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo or former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to secure a majority in the Senate. Last month, he failed in his first attempt to form a government as he couldn’t entice Grillo into an alliance while shunning a potential deal with Berlusconi.

Presidential candidates capable of drawing consensus include Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri and former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, Corriere Della Sera reported today. Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso, a PD member, is in the running, and a push to re-elect President Giorgio Napolitano is