World

Italy lawmakers vote for new president in test for Renzi's reform agenda

  • Former Italian Premier, Senator Mario Monti casts his ballot during  a voting session electing the new Italian President in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's ability to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Polling was expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Former Italian Premier, Senator Mario Monti casts his ballot during a voting session electing the new Italian President in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's ability to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Polling was expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, left, is greeted by former Premier Mario Monti as he arrives at the lower chamber  to attend the voting session electing the new Italian President in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's ability to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Polling was expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, left, is greeted by former Premier Mario Monti as he arrives at the lower chamber to attend the voting session electing the new Italian President in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's ability to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Polling was expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, center, is greeted by lawmakers as he arrives at the lower chamber  to attend the voting session electing the new Italian President in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's ability to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Polling was expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, center, is greeted by lawmakers as he arrives at the lower chamber to attend the voting session electing the new Italian President in Rome, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's ability to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate who is also agreeable to ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Polling was expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Lawmakers cast ballots Thursday for a new Italian president in a vote testing Premier Matteo Renzi's abilty to rally his divided party behind his reform agenda and a single candidate.

No winner is expected Thursday: Polling is expected to last at least until Friday or Saturday since the threshold slips from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority after three rounds of voting.

The Italian president is a largely ceremonial figure with no political role, but he has powers to dissolve Parliament, call new elections and tap a candidate to form a new government, thus playing a crucial role in resolving Italy's not-infrequent political crises.

Two years ago, President Giorgio Napolitano reluctantly accepted an unprecedented second term after lawmakers couldn't agree on a successor.