With a hail of blank ballot slips, Italian lawmakers have failed again to agree on a new head of state.
Three quarters of the thousand strong electoral college chose not to vote for anyone in the second round of voting for the largely ceremonial post of President. Romano Prodi’s centre-left coalition didn’t vote for their own candidate,Giorgio Napolitano, because they knew he wasn’t going to get the two thirds majority he’d needed and they preferred to save him the indignity of an imperfect win. Napolitano had expressed optimism that he could muster enough votes among the smaller opposition parties to become a consensus choice, but hoped for deals failed to materialise. But Prodi’s team have promised to support the 80-year-old senator in voting tomorrow when the required majority will be reduced. Silvio Berlusconi refuses to accept Napolitano because of his communist past and spent much of the day in his role as caretaker prime minister welcomingEgyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Rome.