Political stalemate continues in Italy; not only does the country not have a government since the deadlocked general election in February, but early on Thursday afternoon the parliament failed on the first attempt to elect a new state president.
Divisions in the centre-left alliance meant there was no quick victory for its official candidate Franco Marini.
Marini garnered 520 votes, well below the required two thirds majority or 672 of the 1007 members of both houses of parliament and regional representatives.
A deal over the presidency is key to progress on the forming of a minority government
There is now to be a second vote to try to get a new president, which has to happen before May 15 when the term of President Giorgio Napolitano ends.
This was a setback for centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani, who had split his party by nominating Marini in a deal with centre-right boss Silvio Berlusconi.
Unhappy with that many rebellious centre-left parliamentarians were believed to have voted for academic Stefano Rodota, candidate of the populist 5-Star Movement of former comic Beppe Grillo.