The first round of voting in Italy's presidential elections was inconclusive, Reuters reported at midday on Thursday. Based on the votes counted, it appeared that a two third majority for the presidential front runner, Franco Marini, was impossible.
To win the presidential vote, candidates need to gain a two-third majority out of 1,007 electors from the combined houses of parliament. If that cannot be reached in the first three rounds of voting, a further round can be held in which only a simple majority is required.
Another vote is expected this afternoon and two more votes will be held on Friday should the votes continue to be inconclusive.
Italy's Presidential elections are the biggest indication of whether the country will have to return to the polls later this year, as a failure to agree over the next president could cement the political deadlock further.
On Wednesday, center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani proposed the former Senate speaker Franco Marini as a presidential candidate. Marini is also backed by the head of the center-right alliance, Silvio Berlusconi, and outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, in a show of consensus between the political groups that hasn't been seen during the last few months.
Italian lawmakers begin voting on a replacement for President Giorgio Napolitano, whose mandate expires on May 15, at 8:00 a.m. London time.
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"Marini is the candidate who is best able to attract broad support," Bersani told a meeting of parliamentarians from his Democratic Party (PD) on Wednesday, Reuters reported. "He is linked to labor and social issues and is one of those who have built up the centre-left," Bersani added.
On Tuesday, Monti and Bersani said they wanted a candidate who represented "the maximum possible convergence of opinion among the political forces on the choice of an authoritative candidate who would be able to represent national unity."
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