FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2013 file photo Italian President Giorgio Napolitano arrives for a meeting with German President Joachim Gauck at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany. With a heavily polarized Parliament unable so far to agree on a new president for Italy, 87-year-old President Giorgio Napolitano yielded on Saturday to pleading from political leaders to be a candidate for a second term and quickly end an impasse which has thwarted efforts to form a government in the recession-mired country. Napolitano, citing his advanced age, had repeatedly refused to be a candidate for an unprecedented second seven-year term. But he said in a statement after lobbying from the leaders that he "cannot help but take on the responsibility toward the nation." (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)
ROME (AP) — Italy’s Parliament has elected Giorgio Napolitano as the nation’s president to an unprecedented second term after party leaders persuaded the aging head of state to serve again in hopes of easing political gridlock that is delaying the formation of a new government.
The 87-year-old Napolitano easily surpassed the simple majority required to be elected Saturday afternoon. It took Parliament three days of balloting to choose a president, reflecting the legislature’s deep polarization following inconclusive nationwide elections in February.
Napolitano, a former Communist, is expected to immediately start sounding out parties to see who they might support for premier. The next government faces pressure to bring urgently needed economic and electoral reforms to the recession-mired Eurozone nation plagued by political volatility. Italy has had a caretaker government for months.