Unable to agree so far on a new President for Italy, bickering politicians are pleading with 87-year-old President Giorgio Napolitano to change his mind and stay on for another term.
Parliament voted on Saturday, holding a fifth ballot to choose Napolitano's successor as head of state, but with scant prospects of finding a candidate able to clinch the required simple majority.
Many cast blank ballots in a stalling tactic by Parliament's largest bloc as it struggles to find a candidate supported by a wide consensus. Pier Luigi Bersani's Democratic Party has been imploding under a leadership crisis since disappointing results in February parliamentary elections. Without a new President, Italy's next government cannot be formed. The eurozone country, mired in recession, badly needs reforms.