Voting to choose new Italian president to begin on Jan 29

Voting to choose new Italian president to begin on Jan 29
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano waves next his wife Clio as he leave the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome January 14, 2015.

ROME - Parliamentarians and regional officials will hold a first round of voting to select a new president to replace Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned earlier on Wednesday, on Jan. 29, lower-house 5-Star Movement lawmaker Alessio Villarosa said.

Villarosa, who spoke after a parliamentary meeting to fix the date, said the voting would begin at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT).

Several rounds of voting may be needed and the process can take days or even weeks to complete.

No clear front-runner has emerged with potential candidates ranging from former Prime Minister Romano Prodi or current Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan to constitutional court judge Sergio Mattarella.

ECB President Mario Draghi, once seen as a candidate, has ruled out leaving his current position.

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