Christian Democrat Giovanni Leone came within one vote of being elected President of Italy on Thursday night (23 December), and pandemonium immediately broke out in the Chamber of Deputies.
GV Chamber of Deputies in session ZOOM IN TO Speaker
SV Members filling past ballet box and casting votes - some walk pass without voting ZOOM TO GV
SV Members continue to pass by ballot box
SV Members walk past without voting
SV Votes being counted
SV Members standing around in groups
SV Speaker and party leave after counting votes
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Background: Christian Democrat Giovanni Leone came within one vote of being elected President of Italy on Thursday night (23 December), and pandemonium immediately broke out in the Chamber of Deputies. Only the intervention of the ushers prevented a full-scale brawl in the Chamber, after the 22nd ballet in the three-week-old election, the longest in the Republic's 25-year history.
Enraged Socialists and Communists grabbed Republicans in the Chamber as the Speakers announced that Signor Leone had won 503 votes, one short of the required majority. The Socialists and Communists ware angered because Republicans voted for Signor Leone instead of senator Pietro Nenni, a veteran Socialist. The Republicans had originally indicated they would vote for Signor Nenni, but then switched their allegiance.
It was the second time in 24 hours that pandemonium had broken out in the Chamber, because of frayed tempers during the presidential election. On Wednesday night, the uproar came after the Christian Democrats' 14th abstention in the balloting.
SYNOPSIS: Italy's longest presidential election entered its fifteenth day on Thursday, but the twenty-second ballet again failed to give any candidate the required majority. In the voting on Wednesday night, there was an unprecedented uprear in the Chamber of Deputies over the Christian Democrats' fourteenth abstention in the balloting. Pandemonium broke out again on Thursday, when the new Christian Democrat candidate, Giovanni Leone, failed by one vote to gain the required majority. When President Giuseppe Saragat was elected in 1964, the election took twenty-one ballets over thirteen days.
Observers were hoping that the proximity of Christmas would stir the voters -- one-thousand and eight members of both houses of Parliament and representatives of the twenty regions -- to find a way out of the deadlock in the present election. A twenty-third ballet is scheduled for Friday, Christmas Eve.