Italy's Democrats elect union leader as temporary chief
Italy's Democratic Party on Saturday elected union boss Guglielmo Epifani as its temporary leader to replace Pier Luigi Bersani, who stepped aside at the height of the country's leadership crisis following inconclusive February elections.
Epifani, a former leader of the left-wing union CGIL, was the only candidate and won the secret ballot with 85.8 percent of the vote.
Fifty-nine of the 600 delegates cast blank ballots in a show of discontent.
Bersani told the meeting that the PD needed to "regain enthusiasm" and build momentum for the party's congress in October.
The party has been in disarray since failing to assemble a government after falling short of a clear majority in the February polls.
To break the deadlock, President Giorgio Napolitano got the PD late last month to accept an unprecedented coalition headed by the party's deputy leader Enrico Letta and including several figures from the centre-right forces of scandal-plagued former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.