Italy to begin complex selection of its new president
 Tbilisi 14:46 - 29.01.15 «GHN»
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Lawmakers are set to begin voting Thursday for Italy's new president. The prime minister reached across a political divide to Silvio Berlusconi for help in getting a candidate approved. Megan Williams reports from Rome, reports GHN based on DW.
Like most of the toughest political challenges to Matteo Renzi, Italy's 40-year-old prime minister, opposition to his top choices for the country's next president is likely to spring not from his foes, but from his supposed allies.
Voting for the president of the Italian Republic is usually an arduous ordeal that has produced unpredictable outcomes and dismal failures.
Italy's "grand electors" - just over a thousand lawmakers from both upper and lower houses, as well as regional representatives - begin casting their secret ballots on Thursday to select the country's next president. Given the high two-thirds threshold of the first three rounds, it's a process most observers do not expect to wrap up until early next week.
For one, there is no clear front-runner to replace the outgoing Giorgio Napolitano, who, at age 89, just cut short his second term. Napolitano had been forced to accept the second term two years earlier when bickering members of the leading Democratic Party failed to agree on a successor. In his acceptance speech, Napolitano gave the lawmakers a thorough dressing down, calling them deaf, inconsistent and reckless. In a striking display of political dysfunction, they cheered.
It's a fiasco Renzi does not want to see repeated, warning Democratic Party parliamentarians yesterday that they "cannot get it wrong" again.

The Democratic Party remains as fractious as it was at the time. DP members currently in parliament were elected before Renzi rose to become party leader and then prime minister. Many of them view Renzi as a politically suspicious upstart who shares more common ground with center-right Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi than with the left-wing roots of their party.
"What's going to make this election interesting to watch," says Daniele De Bernardin, of the political watchdog group Openpolis, "is that on the one side you have a very strong leader, but on the other, you have someone without much power to decide who the new president will be."



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