Italy elects ex-communist as president

May 10, 2006 at 1:35 PM
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ROME, May 10 (UPI) -- Italian Sen. Giorgio Napolitano Wednesday became the first ex-communist to be elected president of the nation, a report said.

The 80-year-old former interior minister and House speaker will succeed Carlo Ciampi, 85, whose 7-year presidential term ends May 18, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

It took four rounds of voting to select Napolitano, whose candidacy outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rejected because of Napolitano's onetime membership in the Italian Communist Party.

Napolitano was elected by a coalition led by incoming Prime Minister Romano Prodi in voting by the House, Senate and representatives of 20 regions in Italy.

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