Giorgio Napolitano elected Italian president

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Friday, May 12, 2006

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The new President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano

The Italian Parliament in unified session elected Giorgio Napolitano the new President of the Italian Republic on May 10th.

Napolitano, 80, was elected on the fourth ballot with 543 valid votes (the threshold to win the election was 505). The number of great electors (the Parliamentarians of both houses and the regional delegates) present was 1,000, of which 990 voted.

The election process started on May 8th, but no winner emerged from the previous three ballots, which required a two-thirds supermajority. Italian parliamentary rules allow a simple majority from the fourth ballot onward.

Other candidates who received more than two votes were Umberto Bossi (42), Massimo D'Alema (10), Giuliano Ferrara (7), Gianni Letta (6), Silvio Berlusconi (5), Roberto Dipiazza (3) and Sergio Pininfarina (3). There were 347 blank ballots, along with 14 votes of "null" and 10 vote that went to candidates who only received two votes or fewer.

Italy was in an unusual political situation in which the term of outgoing President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi was due to expire as the new center-left government led by Prime Minister Romano Prodi needed to be appointed. Prodi's coalition won the election of April 9-10, defeating the government of Berlusconi. It was not known if the President of the Republic was to be elected first or if the old President was still able to assign the role of Prime Minister. It was decided, after the election of the two Presidents of the Senate and the House of Parliament, to elect the new President of the Republic first.

Ciampi's term expires on May 18, but he has agreed to resign on May 15 before Napolitano's inauguration.

Napolitano is the first person to be elected President of the Republic who previously was a member of the Italian Communist Party.

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