World

Vote for Italian president gives Renzi chance to unify party, while irking some allies

  • New Italian President Sergio Mattarella is seen inside a car in Rome, Jan. 31, 2015. Sergio Mattarella, constitutional court justice, is elected Italy's president by lawmakers. (AP Photo/Paolo Gargini, Ansa) ITALY OUT

    New Italian President Sergio Mattarella is seen inside a car in Rome, Jan. 31, 2015. Sergio Mattarella, constitutional court justice, is elected Italy's president by lawmakers. (AP Photo/Paolo Gargini, Ansa) ITALY OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • New Italian President Sergio Mattarella poses for photographers at the Constitutional court building near the Quirinal Palace, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, in Rome, Jan. 31, 2015. Italian lawmakers elected Sergio Mattarella, a Constitutional Court justice widely considered to be above the political fray, as the nation's new president on the third day of voting Saturday. Mattarella's election as head of state was clinched when he amassed 505 votes — a simple majority. The 73-year-old former minister with center-left political roots went on to garner 665 votes from the 1,009 eligible electors. Known as a man of few words, Mattarella cemented that reputation with his first remarks to the nation. "My thoughts go, above all, to the difficulties and hopes of our fellow citizens. That's enough, he said, referring to the grim economic situation. Italy is mired in recession and unemployment has hovered about 13 percent nationally. Young Italians are increasingly seeking work abroad. (AP Photo/Ettore Ferrari, Ansa) ITALY OUT

    New Italian President Sergio Mattarella poses for photographers at the Constitutional court building near the Quirinal Palace, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, in Rome, Jan. 31, 2015. Italian lawmakers elected Sergio Mattarella, a Constitutional Court justice widely considered to be above the political fray, as the nation's new president on the third day of voting Saturday. Mattarella's election as head of state was clinched when he amassed 505 votes — a simple majority. The 73-year-old former minister with center-left political roots went on to garner 665 votes from the 1,009 eligible electors. Known as a man of few words, Mattarella cemented that reputation with his first remarks to the nation. "My thoughts go, above all, to the difficulties and hopes of our fellow citizens. That's enough, he said, referring to the grim economic situation. Italy is mired in recession and unemployment has hovered about 13 percent nationally. Young Italians are increasingly seeking work abroad. (AP Photo/Ettore Ferrari, Ansa) ITALY OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • Center-left lawmaker Pierluigi Bersani, center, applauds the election of Italy's new President Sergio Mattarella, at the end of a voting session for the election of the new Italian President, at the lower chamber, in Rome, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. Italian lawmakers have elected Constitutional Court justice Sergio Mattarella on the third day of voting. Mattarella's victory was clinched Saturday when he amassed 505 votes — a simple majority — with the count incomplete. Renzi had pushed hard for Mattarella's election, and some of Renzi's rebellious Democrats had protested that the premier had imposed his choice on them. Mattarella, 73, with Christian Democrat roots, is considered to be above the political fray. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Center-left lawmaker Pierluigi Bersani, center, applauds the election of Italy's new President Sergio Mattarella, at the end of a voting session for the election of the new Italian President, at the lower chamber, in Rome, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. Italian lawmakers have elected Constitutional Court justice Sergio Mattarella on the third day of voting. Mattarella's victory was clinched Saturday when he amassed 505 votes — a simple majority — with the count incomplete. Renzi had pushed hard for Mattarella's election, and some of Renzi's rebellious Democrats had protested that the premier had imposed his choice on them. Mattarella, 73, with Christian Democrat roots, is considered to be above the political fray. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

Italian lawmakers are voting again to elect the country's next president.

Premier Matteo Renzi has urged his oft-divisive Democrats and government allies to unify behind his pick, Constitutional Court justice Sergio Mattarella, in Saturday's balloting.

After two days of inconclusive balloting, the threshold for election dropped from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority.

With center-left political roots, Mattarella was touted as someone now above the political fray, in keeping with the traditional profile of a head of state. As a minister, Mattarella raised largely ignored concerns about conflict of interest when media mogul Silvio Berlusconi jumped into politics in the 1990s. Berlusconi's forces said they wouldn't vote for him.

Some allies chafed at Renzi's imposition of a pick, but eventually agreed to vote for Mattarella.