Italy: Berlusconi confidante nominated as head of state

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Italy’s center-right bloc wants to elect Maria Elisabetta Casellati, politician of Forza Italia, as president. © Vincenzo Livieri/LaPresse via ZUMA Press/dpa

Will Berlusconi confidante Elisabetta Casellati, President of the Senate, become Italy’s first female President? The centre-left parties are outraged by the nomination.

Rome – In the election for the new head of state in Italy, the fifth vote will be the first major showdown between the two political camps.

The centre-right bloc announced on Friday that it would elect Senate President Elisabetta Casellati. The confidant of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi could become Italy’s first female president. Matteo Salvini of the right-wing Lega described it as an “honor” to propose her. The centre-left parties reacted indignantly to Salvini’s advance and rejected the 75-year-old. They instructed their delegates to abstain from voting.

A result is expected around 3 p.m. in the afternoon. Casellati needs 505 of the 1009 delegate votes. The four major parties of the centre-right bloc are almost 50 votes short of an absolute majority, so he is dependent on votes from other parties or dissenters from the centre-left.

As anger grew over the protracted elections, the parties decided in the morning to hold two votes a day from now on. The second round of voting on Friday was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. dpa

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