Italy: Mattarella re-elected as president

Status: 01/29/2022 8:48 PM

Italian parliamentarians and regional representatives re-elected Sergio Mattarella as head of state. The 80-year-old got more than 505 votes in the eighth round of voting and thus secured the required absolute majority.

Written by Jörg Sesselberg, ARD Studio Rome

When Sergio Mattarella reached the necessary number of 505 votes in the general count, voters in the Chamber of Deputies rose and celebrated the result with minutes of applause. The re-election of the 80-year-old incumbent is exemplary, Mattarella is Italy’s head of state for another seven years.

Jörg Sesselberg
ARD-Studio ROM

After seven failed polls in the past few days, the decisive break came in the afternoon. At a crisis meeting, the leaders of the coalition parties voted to ask Matarella for a second term.

The Five Star Movement, the right-wing Lega, the Social Democrats, Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, as well as Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva all said yes to the continuation of the Mattarella era. Due to the unanimous vote of the coalition parties, Mattarella announced his willingness to walk away from his original presidency for a second term.

My bike can keep working

Mattarella’s stay in the Quirinal Palace also means that the current government, led by Mario Draghi, can continue its work unchanged. At the end of last year, the former head of the European Central Bank indicated that he could imagine moving to the position of head of state.

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Exiting Draghi as prime minister would have required a search for a new prime minister and possibly a cabinet reshuffle. Mattarella’s decision means that the status quo at the head of state and government will remain in Italy.

Before today’s agreement on a second term for Mattarella, the parties in the Electoral Assembly of the Chamber of Deputies were unable to agree on a joint candidate in seven votes over six days. It was the longest search for a new head of state in Italy in 30 years.

The ruling parties are satisfied

In the evening, all parties in the ruling coalition expressed satisfaction with the current solution. The head of the Social Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, spoke of a good day for Italy. He thanked Mattarella for his willingness to continue.

Positively, the head of the Five Star Movement, Giuseppe Conte, said that Mattarella’s second term in office means that the current government led by Draghi can continue to function. Matteo Salvini, president of Lega, confirmed that his party had taken responsibility. After vetoing the last few days, it is now a good solution for Mattarella to continue as president and Draghi as prime minister.

Yesterday, Salvini tried to push Senate President Elisabetta Casellati on his own and failed. The far-right Brothers of Italy party spoke out against Mattarella. The leader of the party, Giorgia Meloni, called for the future direct election of the Italian head of state, based on the French model.

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