The combined houses of the Italian parliament have elected Giorgio Napolitano the new president for the Italian republic. He won with 543 out of a total of 990 votes counted on the fourth ballot when only a simple majority was needed. The necessary majority was 505.
Napolitano is the 11th president of Italy since the abolition of the monarchy at the end of world war two. The candidate for the LUnione centre-left coalition, he was born in 1925 in Naples. An active antifascist during the war, he took degree in law and in 1953 he was elected to the chamber of deputies as a member of the Italian Communist party. He has retained his seat for Naples ever since.
He has occupied many important roles within his party (now called Democratici di Sinistra) and was elected president of the chamber of deputies to replace Oscar Luigi Scalfaro when he became the president of the republic in 1992. He was appointed minister of the interior by Romani Prodi in his government in 1996. He has been a Euro-parliamentarian and was made a life senator in 2005. The newly elected president will replace Carlo Azeglio Ciampi who has been a most popular president for the past seven years. Napolitano has assured the Italians that he will represent the whole country not just those who voted for the centre-left coalition in the April parliamentary elections.