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Italy struggles to pick new president

world Updated: Apr 20, 2013 16:57 IST

AP
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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.