TEHRAN, YJC. -- Napolitano received 738 votes from 1007 delegates in the sixth round of voting at the Presidential Election Assembly. He is the first Italian President to have been reelected since 1946.
The Italian parliament on Saturday re-elected 87-year-old President Giorgio Napolitano to serve a second term in an attempt to resolve the political stalemate left by February's inconclusive election.
As most of parliament cheered his re-election, demonstrators protested outside. By evening the crowd had swelled as thousands of people vented anger at an outcome that was widely seen as perpetuating the grip on the country of a discredited political class and favouring centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi.
The leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement Beppe Grillo called on "millions" of Italians to protest against Napolitano's re-election which he called a "coup d'etat."
Napolitano was elected with the votes of 738 of the 1,007 parliamentarians and regional representatives in a sixth round of voting after they had failed to find a mutually acceptable candidate in the previous attempts.
He is expected to try to push for the formation of a broad coalition government in a round of consultations with party chiefs starting next week.
In brief televised comments from his presidential palace, he said the coming weeks would be crucial for the country and called on all sides to "fulfil their duties."
In almost two months, Napolitano, one of the world's oldest heads of state, has failed to broker a solution to the gridlock that emerged from the February election which left no group with enough seats in parliament to form a government.
A broad coalition has so far been rejected by the centre-left, which won most seats and refused to join forces with Berlusconi's centre-right.
However Napolitano now has the power to dissolve parliament, which he did not have in the final months of his current term. Most on the centre-left, which has been torn apart by internal divisions since the February vote, fear new elections and so may be more willing to come to terms with Berlusconi.
The 76 year-old media magnate, who was forced from office at the height of a debt crisis in 2011 and was still being written off until shortly before the election, now leads in the polls.
"Berlusconi is the real winner because there will be a broad coalition that will be a disaster for the country," said Nichi Vendola, head of the small Left and Freedom party which looks ready to quit the centre-left alliance that fought the election.