Presidential election : italy: incumbent head of state mattarella re-elected
Rome when things go wrong in italy’s politics, the head of state often becomes an important anchor. The still incumbent sergio mattarella did not want to be. But the parties gave him no choice.
After almost a week of electoral spectacle in rome, italy’s elected representatives have confirmed incumbent head of state sergio mattarella for another seven years in office. The 80-year-old sicilian achieved the second-best result for a head of state in the country’s history.
The parties had previously failed for seven ballots to present another candidate who received the necessary votes. On saturday, leading politicians knew no more and agreed on mattarella. It’s the only way out to save italy from "madness," ex-head of government matteo renzi says ahead of eighth round of elections.
Congratulations from abroad
A few hours later, 759 out of a possible 1009 electors voted for mattarella. presidents from germany, the USA, france and also the pope congratulated the catholic on his re-election. Am 3. in february the "presidente", popular with the people and many politicians, is to be sworn in – the day his current term of office ends.
late on saturday evening, mattarella made a public statement. The difficult days of the presidential election and the state of health and economic emergency demanded a sense of responsibility and respect for the decisions of parliament, he explained. "these conditions force one not to shirk the duties that call."
The lawyer and former constitutional judge mattarella thus enters a second term like his predecessor giorgio napolitano. This is rather unusual in Italy. The head of state has important powers. It acts as a steering wheel during political crises, which are not uncommon in italy. The president can dissolve parliament and appoint laws and ministers – and also prevent them from doing so.
Government crisis averted
The election averted a government crisis. But the sometimes wild political maneuvering ripped open wounds in the ruling majority alliance. "after a week of electoral circus, parliament has cut a pathetic figure," south tyrolean senator julia unterberger told dpa. She was present at the election. "the difficulty in italy is that every party is divided," explained the politician from the christian democratic south tyrolean people’s party. no party leader has a grip on his people, he says, except giorgia meloni of the far-right fratelli d’italia (brothers of italy).
Italian newspapers gave party leaders high marks in their sunday editions. The worst score in the "la stampa" and the "corriere della sera" matteo salvini of the right lega. "a tragic figure. A party leader in the clutches of a game that is obviously too big for him," summed up "la stampa. Salvini proposed new candidates for days, none of whom met with approval. The lega announced its intention to reflect on the election in the party council. The center-right alliance of silvio berlusconi’s forza italia, lega and fratelli d’italia is now considered to be broken.
According to the papers, the far-right Meloni, who did not allow himself to be swayed from his line, and the social democrat enrico letta, who acted with more patience and in the end was able to keep his party colleague mattarella in office as he wished, fared better.
Mattarella was already looking forward to rest
The 80-year-old is reportedly fit – unlike Napolitano, who ended his second term prematurely in 2015 at 89 for health reasons. "when they elected me to the quirinale, i was worried because i knew how demanding the task was," mattarella told a school in rome in may 2021. In eight months his term as president will end, he declared at the time, obviously looking forward to retirement. "i am old, in a few months i will be able to rest."
Actually, the Sicilian was already sitting on packed boxes and wanted to move back to Palermo, where he comes from. The father of three children made it clear before the election that he did not want a second term in office. Talks with prime minister mario draghi, among others, seemed to have finally changed his mind.
On sunday night, a well-known street artist, according to her own statements, put up a poster near the quirinal palace in rome, where the head of state resides. On it, mattarella is pictured chasing a moving van and shouting "stop, turn around!"