ITALY: At Last, a New President

The choice of a senior Socialist averts another crisis

After 16 ballots spread over nine days, cheers rang out from the crowded floor of Rome's Chamber of Deputies and the galleries broke the rules with a round of applause. Weary backbenchers leaped to embrace the elderly, white-haired figure of Socialist Deputy Alessandro Pertini, 81, who had just been elected as the seventh President of the 32-year-old Italian Republic.

The enthusiastic outburst from the 1,011-member Grand Electoral Assembly was more than a spontaneous tribute to a respected senior politician and wartime anti-Fascist hero. Mostly,...

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