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Sergio Mattarella: At 80, Italy president set to stay on amid successor row

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has agreed to serve a second term after coalition parties failed to agree on a compromise candidate for the office, the BBC reports.

The 80-year-old emerged as the most popular choice after six days of often tense voting in Rome.

He had expressed a desire to leave office, but local media reported Prime Minister Mario Draghi had convinced him to stay for the “stability” of Italy.

He is expected to be formally re-elected later on Saturday.

Announcing Mr Mattarella’s decision to remain in office, Minister for Regional Affairs Mariastella Gelmini hailed the former Constitutional Court judge’s “sense of responsibility and his attachment to the country and its institutions”.

The parties in Italy’s governing coalition agreed to re-elect Mr Mattarella on Saturday after seven rounds of voting failed to produce an alternative candidate and revealed deep divisions in Mr Draghi’s wide ranging coalition government.

Italy’s presidency is elected through a secret vote in an electoral college of 1,009 Senators, MPs and some regional delegates, with the first candidate to receive two-thirds of the vote declared victorious.

Mr Mattarella emerged as the compromise candidate after many lawmakers abstained from voting and candidates put forward by the governing parties failed to gather enough support.

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