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Presidential vote enters crucial round

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Presidential vote enters crucial round


Attention in Italy is turning to the next round of voting to elect a state president. The fourth round only requires a simple majority. Centre left leader Romano Prodi, who narrowly won last month’s general election, on Tuesday failed to push through its candidate for president – Giorgio Napolitano – in a third round.

In a surprise move, the centre right Christian Democrat party, the UDC, has indicated it could break ranks with Silvio Berlusconi. The UDC’s Pier Ferdinando Cassini said: “Giorgio Napolitano has all the qualities needed to be an arbiter and to be seen as such by every Italian.” Prodi on paper can count on 540 votes, 35 more than the absolute majority required – but in Italian politics anything can happen. The stakes are high for Silvio Berlusconi – a high vote for Napolitano in the next round would indicate defections in the centre right coalition in protest against his leadership.
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