Majority of Ballots Cast on Italian Presidential First Round Vote Blank, No Winner

A voter casts his vote in the Italian parliament during a voting session as Italian Parliament votes for a new president in Rome on January 25, 2022. - Italy's parliament was voting on a second day for a new president, a normally low-stakes race that this time risks bringing down …

Following the first round of voting for a new president of Italy, the majority of those eligible to vote cast blank ballots and after a second-round on Tuesday, and no clear candidate has emerged.

Under the Italian system, the President is selected by an electoral college of politicians from across the country who gather in Rome to vote. Of the nearly 1,000 elected officials eligible to vote in the presidential election, which includes members of the chamber of deputies, the Italian senate and regional politicians, 672 placed blank votes in the ceremonial urns in the Chamber of Deputies on Monday.

Of the votes cast for actual candidates, judge Paolo Maddalena received the most votes at 36, while outgoing president Sergio Matterella saw 16 votes. Former Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi also received votes, despite being dead for the last 22 years, SVT reports.

Following the first round of voting, the various Italian political parties have agreed to talk to each other about choosing a suitable candidate for the Italian presidency.

One name that has been floated by some is current Prime Minister Mario Draghi but some, like populist League leader Senator Matteo Salvini, are against Draghi leaving as Prime Minister and have urged followers to negotiate with political rivals to keep Draghi in as Prime Minister.

“Try to convince the parliamentarians of the other camps, make it clear that the era of cultural subjection to the left is over, offer them coffee,” Salvini is reported to have advised his followers.

Gianfranco Pasquino, an Italian political scientist and professor at the University of Bologna, stated that Italy could face possible instability if Draghi moves into the presidential role.

“There is no precedent. No previous prime minister has ever become president of the Republic and if Mario Draghi becomes president there will be the problem of creating a new government and this will be a very complex problem,” he said.

“A government crisis would be very bad at this point in time because we’re trying to produce the projects to get the European money, the European funds,” Pasquino added.

On Tuesday, another vote was taken and yet again no clear winner emerged with the needed 2/3rds majority of votes. Voting is set to continue Wednesday and will also require a 2/3rds majority but in the fourth round, a simple majority of 505 votes will be enough to elect the next Italian president.

Prior Italian presidential elections have gone much longer than four rounds, with one election lasting 23 rounds in total, according to the Associated Press.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had been one of the favourites for the presidency but after being hospitalised just days before the first round of voting, the Forza Italia leader pulled out of the race.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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