Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi has named constitutional court judge Sergio Mattarella as his candidate, as parliament chooses a new president.
In Italy, the president has a largely ceremonial role, but the vote is seen as an important moment for Matteo Renzi, after the resignation of Giorgio Napolitano earlier this month.
Giorgio Napolitano, 89, stood down this month, citing “signs of fatigue”.
No result is expected before February 1, as a winning candidate needs a two-thirds majority in initial voting.
More than 1,000 people were due to vote in the procedure, which began on January 29, including both the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and 58 regional representatives.
Giorgio Napolitano was applauded as he entered the chamber to cast his vote in the first round, having told journalists that Sergio Mattarella was a person of “absolute loyalty and propriety”.
Sergio Mattarella once served as defense minister and is a member of Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD). His nomination was given unanimous support at a meeting of party voters, who number around 400.
However, a candidate needs 673 votes to succeed in the first three rounds, and that is seen as unlikely. Italy’s RAI TV suggested Sergio Mattarella could attract some 561 votes.
If voting extends to a fourth round on January 31, a simple majority of 505 would be enough for him to become 12th president of the Italian republic.
Under the constitution, any Italian citizen over 50 can be nominated by lawmakers.
The role has the key power of appointing a prime minister.
Giorgio Napolitano named five prime ministers during his eight-and-a-half years in office.
He retired earlier this month, aged 89, saying poor health meant he was no longer able to do his job as he wished.
Giorgio Napolitano had only agreed to serve a second term in an attempt to end political paralysis after inconclusive elections in 2013.
Matteo Renzi’s party will need further backing from other parties, such as Nichi Vendola’s Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) Party, former members of Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star Party, and centrist parties such Civic Choice.
However, the centre-right Forza Italia Party of former PM Silvio Berlusconi is opposed to Sergio Mattarella’s candidacy.
Silvio Berlusconi was said to support another former premier, Giuliano Amato, and the ballot is secret, so rebel lawmakers could sabotage a vote, which happened when a large number of PD electors failed to support the party candidate two years ago.
Although Silvio Berlusconi is no longer in the Senate, because of his conviction for tax fraud, he still leads Forza Italia.
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano will testify at a high-profile anti-Mafia trial in Rome.
Prosecutors are investigating possible collusion between ministers, police chiefs and the Mafia to end a period of violence in the early 1990s.
Giorgio Napolitano, 89, denies any knowledge of the negotiations.
Opposition politicians have called for Giorgio Napolitano’s evidence not to be held behind closed doors when the trial moves from Palermo to the capital on October 28.
There is no suggestion that he was involved in any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors are investigating a dramatic period of Mafia violence in the 1990s – marked by car bombings and assassinations.
They accuse the state of making an illegal deal with the Mafia to bring the violence to an end.
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano will testify at a high-profile anti-Mafia trial in Rome
In October 2013, Giorgio Napolitano wrote a letter to the court saying he had “no useful knowledge” to give the trial, but would have been happy to give evidence if he had.
Prosecutors allege that government officials sought to make an agreement with the Mafia after bombings in 1993, reportedly promising less harsh jail conditions in exchange for calling off the bombing campaign.
Two leading anti-mafia prosecutors died in devastating explosions in Sicily.
A former interior minister, Nicola Mancino, is on trial for allegedly negotiating with the Mafia after the attacks in Rome, Florence and Milan.
Nicola Mancino denies the charges.
The court ruled last year that President Giorgio Napolitano could not be asked about conversations he had with Nicola Mancino in 2011 and 2012. Evidence from an intercepted phone-call was destroyed after an application from Giorgio Napolitano.
The former interior minister is on trial along with several other people including two jailed Mafia bosses, Toto Riina and Benardo Provenzano.
A final verdict in the case is not expected for at least two more years.
Matteo Renzi is expected to be offered to become Italian prime minister, as talks begin on forming a new government.
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano is starting consultations following the resignation of Enrico Letta.
Enrico Letta was ousted in a vote called by Florence mayor Matteo Renzi at a meeting of their centre-left Democratic Party.
Matteo Renzi, 39, would become Italy’s youngest prime minister.
Enrico Letta was under increasing pressure over Italy’s poor economic performance.
After accepting the prime minister’s resignation, Giorgio Napolitano’s office said talks would begin with political leaders on finding a replacement.
Matteo Renzi is expected to be offered to become Italian prime minister, as talks begin on forming a new government
The consultations would be conducted swiftly to find an “efficient solution” and they would conclude on Saturday, the statement added.
Enrico Letta’s position became untenable once the Democratic Party backed a call for a new administration.
Matteo Renzi had argued that a change of government was needed to end “uncertainty”.
A new government should take over until the end of the current parliamentary term in 2018, he said.
Matteo Renzi had accused Enrico Letta of a lack of action on improving the economic situation, with unemployment at its highest level in 40 years and the economy shrinking by 9% in seven years.
Enrico Letta, 47, was also accused of failing to implement promised reforms of what is seen as an often corrupt and wasteful bureaucracy.
Youth unemployment has risen and Italians have grown increasingly impatient of the slow pace of reform and the continuing decline of families’ income and living standards.
Enrico Letta only lasted 10 months in the post after forming a coalition government with the centre-right last year. The prime minister, who drove himself from the presidential palace after resigning, took to Twitter to thank “all those who have helped me”.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano is considering ways out of an acute political crisis after ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi’s ministers left the coalition government.
Giorgio Napolitano hinted that he would try to oversee the formation of a new coalition without calling elections.
This follows weeks of worsening ties between Silvio Berlusconi’s party and PM Enrico Letta’s centre-left grouping.
Silvio Berlusconi had already threatened to withdraw his ministers if he was expelled from the Senate for tax fraud.
The current coalition government was put together after inconclusive elections in February, and the latest developments cast a further shadow over Italy’s struggling economy, the eurozone’s third-largest.
It is feared that the crisis could hamper efforts to enact badly-needed reforms to tackle Italy’s economic problems, including debt, recession and high youth unemployment.
The IMF has warned that coalition tensions represent a risk to the Italian economy.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano is considering ways out of an acute political crisis after ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi’s ministers left the coalition government
Speaking on Saturday, Giorgio Napolitano called for political continuity in the country.
“We need a parliament that discusses and works, not that breaks up every now and then,” he said.
“We do not need continuous election campaigns, we need continuity of the government’s actions, decisions and its measures to resolve the problems of this country.”
Later on Sunday, Giorgio Napolitano is expected to meet Enrico Letta, and their talks will be closely watched for the first indications as to how this crisis will play out.
Enrico Letta, of the centre-left Democratic Party, warned late on Friday that he would quit unless his coalition cabinet won a confidence vote due next week.
Silvio Berlusconi pre-empted that, describing Enrico Letta’s comments as “unacceptable”. He later said all five ministers of his People of Freedom (PDL) party were resigning.
The PDL is objecting to a planned increase in sales tax, which is part of wider government policy to reduce big public debts.
Interior Minister and PDL Secretary Angelino Alfano accused Enrico Letta of “a grave violation of the pacts that this government is founded on”.
But the prime minister responded angrily to the resignations, accusing the PDL leader of telling Italians a “huge lie” in using the sales tax as an alibi for his own personal concerns.
“In parliament, everyone will have to assume responsibility for their actions before the nation.”
Silvio Berlusconi’s legal problems are seen as a cause of much of the tension inside the coalition.
A committee of the Senate decides next week if he should be expelled after the Supreme Court recently upheld his conviction for tax fraud.
It was his first conviction to be confirmed on appeal in two decades of fighting legal cases.
Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in jail, but is expected to serve house arrest or community service because of his age.
A man has been arrested in Italy after he shot two police officers outside the PM’s office in Rome during new government swearing-in ceremony.
One of the officers was shot in the neck and is said to be in a serious condition.
The incident was around a kilometre away from the swearing-in ceremony at the Quirinal Palace.
Democratic Party Deputy Leader (PD), Enrico Letta, becomes prime minister at the head of a “grand coalition” including Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party (PDL).
The swearing-in signals the end of two months of political deadlock.
Correspondents say the “grand coalition” between Italy’s current main right- and left-wing parties is unprecedented, and will probably prove an uneasy alliance.
A man has been arrested in Italy after he shot two police officers outside the PM’s office in Rome during new government swearing-in ceremony
Silvio Berlusconi had said he would not be a minister, but had pushed for leading figures from his party to be given top posts.
Angelino Alfano, the PDL’s secretary and one of Silvio Berlusconi’s closest political allies, is deputy prime minister and interior minister in the new government.
Among the other key appointments is Bank of Italy director general Fabrizio Saccomanni to head the powerful economy ministry.
The cabinet is to have more women than usual, including former European Commissioner Emma Bonino as foreign minister.
Other women given government jobs include Olympic kayaker Josefa Idem who becomes minister of equal opportunity and sports, and Anna Maria Cancellieri at the ministry of justice.
Since February’s inconclusive poll there has been political stalemate in Italy, which is still plagued by economic woes after becoming one of the first eurozone victims of the global financial crisis of 2008.
President Giorgio Napolitano said on Saturday that the government would have the support of both chambers of parliament.
“I hope that this government can get to work quickly in the spirit of fervent co-operation and without any prejudice or conflict,” the president said.
“It was and is the only possible government.”
President Giorgio Napolitano, who is serving an unprecedented second term in Italy, has suggested he might resign if the new government fails to enact reforms.
Enrico Letta appears set to become Italy’s new prime minister, after being asked by President Giorgio Napolitano to form a broad coalition government.
The appointment of Enrico Letta, currently deputy leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, could see the end of two months of parliamentary deadlock.
An inconclusive general election in February left the country in political limbo.
Enrico Letta, 46, said he would aim to change the course in Europe on austerity.
“European policies are too focused on austerity which is no longer enough,” he said, following the closed-door meeting with the president in Rome.
He also said he had accepted the post knowing that it was an enormous responsibility and that Italy’s political class “has lost all credibility”.
Enrico Letta must now form a cabinet that can win cross-party support and a vote of confidence in parliament, possibly this weekend.
Factions from across the political spectrum, including former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing People of Freedom Party (PDL), have indicated that they are ready to form a coalition under a figure like Enrico Letta.
However, Silvio Berlusconi’s party and the Democratic Party (PD) differ on a number of issues.
Enrico Letta appears set to become Italy’s new prime minister, after being asked by President Giorgio Napolitano to form a broad coalition government
PDL National Secretary Angelino Alfano warned that his group would not take part in a government unconditionally.
Enrico Letta, once a member of the former centre-right Christian Democrats, is seen as moderate of the left. His uncle, Gianni Letta, has been Silvio Berlusconi’s chief-of-staff for 10 years.
A broad political alliance would again make Silvio Berlusconi a major influence.
This awkward coming together of bitter rivals is seen as the only way to end the parliamentary stalemate and put an administration in place.
But it is a forced political marriage that may not last long.
Enrico Letta’s candidacy for prime minister came about after the PD leader, Pier Luigi Bersani, announced his resignation last week.
He had ruled out working with Silvio Berlusconi and faced a party rebellion over his choice for Italian president.
The third strongest political force to come out of February’s election, former comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star movement, could not be persuaded to join a coalition and is expected to be in opposition.
With the Italian economy still struggling, the new government will be expected to try to implement a limited range of economic and institutional reforms.
Among its priorities will be an effort to re-shape the current election law. The aim would be to ensure that future general elections would deliver more emphatic, clear-cut results.
Enrico Letta’s appointment follows the swearing-in on Monday of President Giorgio Napolitano, who berated his country’s feuding politicians.
Taking up an unprecedented second term, he told the assembled MPs that they had been guilty of a long series of failings and that their inability to implement key reforms had been “unforgivable”.
Giorgio Napolitano has threatened to resign if no administration is formed.
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano has been re-elected following a cross-party appeal to run for office again to resolve a growing political crisis.
Giorgio Napolitano, 87, secured the required 504 votes in parliament.
Politicians had turned to the widely-respected president after five rounds of voting failed to produce a successor.
A caretaker government has been governing Italy following February’s inconclusive general elections.
The political deadlock has compounded concern about the stability of Italy whose economy, the third-biggest in the eurozone, is mired in recession.
On Saturday, Giorgio Napolitano became the first president in Italian history to secure a second seven-year term.
He easily won the simple majority of votes out of 1,007 electors.
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano has been re-elected following a cross-party appeal to run for office again to resolve a growing political crisis
Giorgio Napolitano put forward his candidacy after the appeal by main party leaders – both on the left and right.
“I consider it necessary to offer my availability,” said Giorgio Napolitano, who had been due to step down on May 15.
“I cannot shun my responsibility towards the nation,” he added.
Italian party leaders earlier expressed concern over a “grave situation”, urging parliament to “show unity” in re-electing widely-respected Giorgio Napolitano.
Outside the parliament building in Rome, protesters held a rally against the push for Giorgio Napolitano’s re-election.
Many demonstrators were supporters of Beppe Grillo, the leader of the 5-Star Movement.
Beppe Grillo denounced giorgio Napolitano’s re-appointment as a “coup d’etat”.
Parliament began trying to elect a new president on Thursday, but MPs voted five times without producing a clear winner. In increasing desperation they turned to Giorgio Napolitano, who was supposed to retire.
On Friday, the leader of Italy’s centre-left alliance, Pier Luigi Bersani, promised to step down as soon as a new president was elected.
Pier Luigi Bersani announced the news to his Democratic Party (PD) after many centre-left MPs refused to back his preferred candidate for president.
The centre-left failed to gain an overall majority at February’s general election despite coming first.
President Giorgio Napolitano has asked a select group of people to offer a policy platform to end the impasse in forming a new government in Italy.
Giorgio Napolitano named 10 “wise men” to work in two separate groups.
The president’s announcement ended speculation that he might resign – a day after political parties failed to agree a coalition government following February’s inconclusive election.
Giorgio Napolitano said he would serve out his mandate that ends on May 15.
Giorgio Napolitano named 10 “wise men” to work in two separate groups to end the impasse in forming a new government in Italy
Italy has been governed by a group of technocrats led by Mario Monti since late 2011 – when centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi resigned in the middle of an acute economic crisis.
Giorgio Napolitano said that Mario Monti’s caretaker cabinet was still “operational” and “in charge”.
However, the continuing political stalemate is delaying reforms that could help revive Italy’s recession-hit, debt-laden economy.
Giorgio Napolitano finished consultations with Italy’s main political leaders on Friday.
In the absence of agreement, he said he asked “two small groups of personalities” to formulate “precise programme proposals” that could be supported by political parties – and serve as a basis for a new cabinet.
The first group will be asked to work on pressing political and institutional issues, while the second will focus on economic and social problems.
Among the 10 “wise men” are Enrico Giovannini, head of Italy’s Istat statistics agency, European Affairs Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Bank of Italy deputy director Salvatore Rossi and Valerio Onida, a former judge on the country’s constitutional court.
“I want to underline one more time the need for all political parties to demonstrate their full awareness of the gravity and urgency of the problems facing the country,” Giorgio Napolitano said.
Italy’s parliament is currently split in three main blocs – each without enough seats to govern alone.
Pier Luigi Bersani’s centre-left coalition won the most votes in the February election, but failed to secure a majority in both houses of parliament.
The bloc has ruled out an alliance with Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right alliance, which finished a close second.
The protest group Five Stars Movement led by former comedian Beppe Grillo garnered a quarter of the vote, but has refused to support either group.
Italy’s 10 “Wise Men”:
Political and institutional reform group
Prof. Valerio Onida – University of Milan constitutional law expert
Luciano Volante – former parliament speaker from Pier Luigi Bersani’s party
Mario Mauro – senator in Mario Monti’s party
Gaetano Quagliariello – senator in Silvio Berlusconi’s party
Economic and social reform group
Prof. Enrico Giovannini – statistics agency head
Giovanni Pitruzzella – Competition Authority head
Salvatore Rossi – Bank of Italy deputy head
Enzo Moavero Milanesi – European Affairs minister
5-6. Giancarlo Giorgetti and Filippo Bubbico – parliament commission heads
Italian parliament has been dissolved by President Giorgio Napolitano following caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti’s resignation.
The move paves the way for elections, now confirmed for 24-25 February.
Mario Monti, brought in last year to form a technocratic government, stepped down on Friday after MPs passed his budget.
It followed the withdrawal of support from former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s party. Silvio Berlusconi is to run again. Mario Monti has not unveiled his plans.
After meeting political leaders, President Giorgio Napolitano told reporters: “I have just signed the decree for the dissolution of parliament.”
He called for a “measured and constructive electoral campaign”.
Soon after, the cabinet announced that the election would be held over two days, on 24-25 February.
Mario Monti, who remains head of an interim administration until the elections, is expected to announce on Sunday whether he will run again.
Italian parliament has been dissolved by President Giorgio Napolitano following Prime Minister Mario Monti’s resignation
Although the economist and former European commissioner cannot stand for election himself as he is already a senator for life, there is speculation that he could become the unofficial leader of a centrist coalition and return as a minister.
Since taking office in November 2011, Mario Monti and his non-party team of ministers have implemented economic austerity measures in the form of spending cuts and tax hikes.
In his last speech before his resignation, Mario Monti said the last 13 months had been “difficult but fascinating”.
“The work we did… has made the country more trustworthy… more competitive and attractive to foreign investors,” he told foreign diplomats in Rome.
The election was triggered after Silvio Berlusconi’s party withdrew its support from Mario Monti’s government, accusing it of following policies that “were too German-centric”.
The three-times prime minister has said he intends to campaign on an anti-austerity platform, pledging to cut taxes and create jobs.
But the polls show Silvio Berlusconi is trailing a centre-left alliance led by Pier Luigi Bersani, which broadly supports a continuation of Mario Monti’s economic programme while pledging to ease some of the pressure on the poorest members of society.