Monday December 04, 2023

Italian lawmakers vote for next president with unclear slate

January 25, 2022

ROME: With special pandemic precautions, balloting began on Monday in Italy’s Parliament on who should become the country’s next president, even as party leaders huddled to try to forge a consensus with no clear slate yet of candidates.

Italy’s lawmakers and a smaller group of special regional representatives are voting this week for a successor to Sergio Mattarella as head of state, a largely ceremonial post that still requires political acumen to steer Italy through its frequent political crises.

The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, opened the first round of voting with instructions to the Grand Electors to use hand sanitizers before and after using the pencil provided to write down their choice for president.

But with any agreement on a candidate possibly days away, many lawmakers were expected to cast blank ballots Monday. During the first three rounds, an absolute majority of 672 votes is necessary to win. Starting with the fourth round expected Thursday, a simple majority of 505 votes clinches victory. Ballots are read aloud one by one, and results of the first round weren’t expected to be known until late Monday evening.

As part of Covid-19 safety protocols, traditional voting booths, with drapery designed for secrecy, were replaced by easier to clean pass-through door-less structures. When the electors, starting with infirmed lawmakers and senators-for-life, finished voting, they deposited ballots in an ornate round container.