Obama congratulates Napolitano on re-election

President Barack Obama congratulated Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano upon his successful re-election on Saturday, praising the 87-year-old's "extraordinary leadership."

Napolitano was re-elected by Italian lawmakers in a desperate bid to end a deadlock on forming a new government.

"I congratulate President Giorgio Napolitano on his re-election as President of Italy," Obama said in a statement.

"For seven years, President Napolitano has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in Italy, in Europe, and around the world.

"I admire his decision to once again serve the Italian people as President, and welcome the decision that the Italian parliament has made to come together to select him for continued service."

The ex-communist Napolitano secured victory with a sweeping majority of 738 ballots out of 1,007 possible votes.