Election for a new President on 29th January
As widely forecast, President Giorgio Napolitano (89) submitted his resignation yesterday. He left the Quirinale presidential palace after his resignation letter was sent to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Speakers of the two houses of parliament, the 630 member Chamber of Deputies and the 315 seat Senate plus five lifetime Senators.
The Prime Minister said that a new President was likely to be in place by the end of the month with voting taking place on 29th January. Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso has taken over as interim president until a new President is elected.
Italy’s President is elected by an Electoral College made up of both houses of parliament and 58 representatives of the country’s 20 regions. Each region appoints three delegates, two representing the majority and one the opposition apart from Valle d’Aosta, which has one delegate. This gives a total of 1,008 ‘Grand Electors’ as they are known.
Under the Constitution, the winning candidate is required to gather a two-thirds majority of 674 votes in the first, second or third ballots. After that, an absolute majority of 506 votes is required.
In 2006 Giorgio Napolitano was elected in the fourth round with 543 votes (505 votes were needed in that election). In 2013 when all the main parties urged him to stay on to see the country through a period of political turmoil Napolitano was elected in the first round with 738 votes when 672 votes were needed for a win.
The election is expected to go to four rounds this year.