Sergio Mattarella Italy President
Sergio Mattarella elected as Italy's presidentReuters

Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional court judge and veteran centre-left politician, was elected by Italian lawmakers as the new president of Italy on Saturday. 

After three inconclusive rounds of voting this week for the presidential elections, in which a two-thirds majority was needed, Mattarella, 73, was elected in the fourth round, when the required quorum fell to a simple majority, reports Reuters

Mattarella succeeds 89-year-old Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned last month due to "signs of fatigue."

He was chosen to run for Presidency by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is also the secretary of the ruling Democratic Party. "Keep up the good work, President Mattarella. Long live Italy!" Renzi tweeted after the vote.

Though a ceremonial post, the President has the right to appoint the prime minister, reports BBC

In case of political instability, he plays a vital role, given his powers to dissolve parliament and call for elections.

Mattarella comes from a prominent Sicilian family and has seen death of elder brother Piersanti, then the island's governor, when the mafia shot him in 1980. Piersanti died in his arms on the way to the hospital, reports the Sydney Morning Herald

Mattarella entered politics in 1983 as a member of parliament of the now-defunct Christian Democrat Party, and although he later went on to become the justice of Italy's Constitutional Court, he continues to be known as a politician and Renzi's ally.

Following his win, Mattarella told the press that "his first thoughts are of the difficulties and hopes of our citizens." Arriving at a World War II site later, he said that "Europe must unite to battle terrorism the same way allied nations banded together to defeat "Nazi hate, racism, anti-Semitism, and totalitarianism."

 Mattarella is expected to be sworn in around 5.30 am (IST) on Tuesday.