Italy fails in new bid to elect president

Outgoing Italian President Sergio Mattarella has received votes from those who want him to stay on.
Outgoing Italian President Sergio Mattarella has received votes from those who want him to stay on.

Italy continues to wait for a successful presidential election after no candidate managed to secure a two-third majority in the third round of voting.

Just like in the two previous rounds on Monday and Tuesday, most lawmakers on Wednesday submitted blank ballots because the political camps did not agree on a common candidate during the negotiations.

After the withdrawal of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi from the race for the highest office in the country, negotiations between party leaders for a possible candidate intensified.

As of Thursday, the fourth day of voting, an absolute majority is already sufficient for a victory.

The incumbent Sergio Mattarella received the most votes - 125 - on Wednesday, even though he has so far clearly ruled out a second term.

However, many politicians want the Sicilian to remain in office to not endanger the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who has long been considered the favourite for the role.

Given he cannot hold both positions, negotiations have been ongoing for weeks in Rome about how to proceed with his government in which almost all the major parties in parliament are represented.

Australian Associated Press