Italy crisis: President Giorgio Napolitano re-elected

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. Photo: April 2013 Giorgio Napolitano has now secured an unprecedented second term

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has been re-elected following a cross-party appeal to run for office again to resolve a growing political crisis.

Mr Napolitano, aged 87, easily secured a majority 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.

'Coup d'etat'

Start Quote

I cannot shun my responsibility towards the nation”

End Quote Giorgio Napolitano Italian President

On Saturday, Mr Napolitano became the first president in Italian history to secure a second seven-year term.

He won 738 votes from the 1,007 electors.

Mr 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 Mr Napolitano, who had been due to step down on 15 May.

"I cannot shun my responsibility towards the nation," he added.

Demonstrators outside the Italian parliament building in Rome. Photo: 20 April Protesters outside the parliament denounced Mr Napolitano's re-election

And in a brief address shortly after the vote, Mr Napolitano acknowledged that the situation in the country remained "difficult".

"I strongly hope that in the next few weeks, starting in the next few days, all sides will fulfil their duties, with the aim of strengthening the institutions of the state," he added.

Italian party leaders earlier urged parliament to "show unity" in re-electing widely-respected Mr Napolitano.

Outside the parliament building in Rome, protesters held a rally against the push for Mr Napolitano's re-election.

Many demonstrators were supporters of Beppe Grillo, the leader of the 5-Star Movement.

Mr Grillo denounced Mr 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 the man who was supposed to retire, the BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome reports.

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.

Mr 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.

More on This Story

Italy's future

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.