ROME -- Italian lawmakers failed to elect a new president in the first two rounds of voting on Thursday. The center-left's official candidate, Franco Marini, a former union leader and president of the Senate, was unable to get the two-thirds majority required, even with the votes of the center-right, which supported the choice.
The compromise candidacy has seriously fractured the center-left, and rebellious lawmakers opted for other candidates. Stefano Rodotà, an academic and the former chairman of the Italian Data Protection Authority, backed by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, got the second-highest number of votes Thursday morning, and the most in the afternoon, when the majority of lawmakers cast blank ballots. For the fourth vote, expected Friday afternoon, a simple majority will suffice.
The 1,007 grand electors, 949 members of Parliament along with regional representatives, are choosing a successor to President Giorgio Napolitano, whose seven-year term ends May 15.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.