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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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As Italian MPs fail to agree on president some cast prank ballot for Trapattoni

Others voted for the actress Sophia Loren and a famous Italian porn star as lawmakers failed to reach a required two-thirds majority on a candidate for president.

Could Trap learn a few tricks about politics from Enda?
Could Trap learn a few tricks about politics from Enda?
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

ITALY’S PARLIAMENT HAS failed to elect a new president during a second round of voting this evening with no candidate winning the required two-thirds of the vote.

The majority of the ballots were spoilt by party members from across the political sphere playing for time in the hope of agreeing on a winning candidate.

A third vote is set to take place tomorrow morning, and the ballot will continue with two votes a day until a president is elected.

As Italian lawmakers failed to agree some cast prank ballots for porn star Rocco Siffredi and actress Sophia Loren.

And in a football-mad country some reference to the beautiful game was unavoidable – a vote cast for former Italy and current Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

Parliament speaker Laura Boldrini was quick to point out – and not tongue-in-cheek – that Siffredi “does not have the prerequisites”, Italian media reported. At 48, the actor is below the age threshold of 50 to be president.

Silvio Berlusconi’s wife Veronica Lario also appeared in the voting, along with buxom starlet Valeria Marini – a namesake of serious presidential candidate Franco Marini.

“I’m flattered!” said Valeria Marini, adding: “I know it was ironic but I’m still pleased”. She still declined and said: “It’s important that the right choice is made. The president is a lynchpin.”

As the names were read out, there were peals of laughter and bursts of applause in parliament – despite the gravity of the moment as a two-month political crisis drags on.

Consensus candidate

Just hours before the first vote, Italy’s two main political blocs had agreed to back Franco Marini, a pipe-smoking 80-year-old seen as having formidable political skills.

But leftist leader Pier Luigi Bersani’s bid to clinch a deal with his rival Silvio Berlusconi over Marini infuriated many within the centre-left bloc and rebel voters came out in support for Stefano Rodota, a widely respected 79-year-old human rights advocate.

Voters from Bersani’s Democratic Party (PD) were set to meet before Friday’s vote in a bid to find a common candidate, after young members of the party protesting against Marini seized and occupied a PD branch in Tuscany.

Slammed as having neither public support nor international standing, Marini failed to garner enough support in either vote and Walston said the former Christian Democrat was likely out of the running.

Dissidents said they would not vote for such an establishment figure and many across the left accused Bersani of cosying up to scandal-tainted ex-premier Berlusconi and the right.

The voting to elect a successor to President Giorgio Napolitano brings together both chambers of parliament as well as regional representatives, with a total of 1,007 people eligible to vote.

A candidate must be supported by a two-thirds majority in the first three rounds of voting or by a simple majority from the fourth vote onwards.

Experts said the parties would likely spoil their ballots in the third round tomorrow morning before voting properly in the fourth.

© AFP 2013

Read: Italian president buys time in political deadlock

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