Giorgio Napolitano has been sworn in as Italian president, paving the way for centre-left Prime Minister Romano Prodi to form a government.
Giorgio Napolitano (right) was Romano Prodi's chosen candidate
Mr Napolitano won an absolute majority of 543 votes out of a possible 1,009 after four rounds of voting last week.
The 80-year-old former communist was the chosen candidate of Mr Prodi, who narrowly defeated Silvio Berlusconi in the April general elections.
His first task will be to give Mr Prodi the mandate to form a government.
Both houses of parliament would then be expected to hold a vote of confidence the following week, correspondents say.
Mr Napolitano, a life senator, was interior minister in Mr Prodi's 1996 government. He is Italy's 11th post-war president.