Italian lawmakers failed to elect a new president in an early secret ballot on Monday, and party leaders met behind the scenes to try to reach consensus on a candidate and avert political instability.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi He remains the front-runner, but fears that his promotion to head of state could disrupt his coalition government and trigger early national elections have further complicated his chances.
Mario Draghi continues to be nominated or preferred candidate – Photo: Yara Nardi/Paul/Reuters
A second round of voting will take place on Tuesday after a majority of 1,008 “big electors” voted empty on Monday in a poll that lasted nearly five hours.
Although largely ceremonial, the Italian presidency also has a huge impact, as the head of state is often asked to resolve political crises in the eurozone’s third-largest economy, where governments last on average for only one year.
Draghi has made clear he would like the job, but the main parties have not yet endorsed him, fearing that his decision could derail the fight against Covid-19 and jeopardize efforts to receive billions of euros in pandemic relief money from the European Union.
“I am working to ensure that in the coming hours the center-right presents not just one, but several qualitative proposals,” said the right-wing leader of the League. Matteo SalviniMonday evening, suggesting there is no consensus on Draghi’s name.
Salvini was at the center of cross-party talks on Monday, meeting separately with center-left Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta and former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who leads the 5-Star Movement, the largest force in parliament.
After meeting Lita, Salvini and Conte said they were “working on some options” and would meet again on Tuesday. 5 Stars said there was agreement on the need to find a mutually acceptable candidate who would “unite the country”.
The winner needs a two-thirds majority in any of the first three voting rounds, after which a simple majority is sufficient.
If Draghi becomes head of state, there will be an immediate need to agree on who should replace him as prime minister to avoid protracted political paralysis.
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