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Italy's presidential election underway; Berlusconi drops out

By Megan Hadley
Italy's presidential election underway; Berlusconi drops out
Italy's parliament will vote for the next President Monday in a secret ballot.  Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Italy's parliament will choose a new president Monday in a secret ballot.

More than 1,000 lawmakers will participate in the secret ballot -- where several rounds of voting take place to choose the new president.

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Current president Sergio Mattarella will step down Feb. 3, and his successor will serve a seven-year term.

The next president requires a two-third majority vote within the first three rounds of voting, and in the fourth round, an absolute majority vote.

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime minister and potential president elect, dropped out after failing to get the necessary support for his bid.

In a letter, he wrote that in the spirit of "national responsibly" his backers give up identifying him as a contender.

It is expected to take about 6 hours for all the votes to be cast and counted.

Parliament is also being cautious of COVID-19, and a drive-in voting station has been set up for electors who tested positive for the virus.

The first COVID-19 positive voter came by ambulance on Monday.

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