ROME (AFP) – Italy’s parliament meets Thurs-day to begin selecting a new president with the race apparently wide open and much at stake for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is keen on having a friendly figure installed as head of state.
“It is an important test for Matteo Renzi – he needs to find a name capable of securing the broadest possible backing,” analysts at the Uni-credit bank said in a note to investors on the selection procedure for a successor to the much loved and respected Giorgio Napolitano.
A total of 1,009 politicians have a vote on
who takes over the largely ceremonial role, with the members of the Chamber of Deputies and the upper-house Senate joined by 58 re-presentatives of Italy’s regions in a first vote scheduled for 1400 GMT.
A new president is seen as unlikely to emer-ge from the first three rounds of voting, in which, constitutionally, a two thirds majority is required. From the fourth round, a simple majority is enough.
Renzi’s ruling Democratic Party (PD) can offi-cially count on 415 votes from its own elected officials and several dozen floating voters.
As result, Renzi is counting on being able to ensure his favoured candidate carries the day in the fourth round, which will likely happen on Saturday, and has reportedly ordered his loyalists not to vote at all in the first three rounds.