Italy: Mattarella re-elected as President

Status: 01/29/2022 8:48 p.m

Italy’s parliamentarians and regional representatives have re-elected Sergio Mattarella as head of state. The 80-year-old received more than 505 votes in the eighth round of voting and thus the required absolute majority.

By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Studio Rome

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

Jorg Seisselberg
ARD-Studio Rom

After seven failed ballots in the past few days, the crucial breakthrough came in the afternoon. In a crisis meeting, the leaders of the coalition parties voted to ask Mattarella for a second term.

Both the Five Star Movement and the right-wing Lega, the Social Democrats and the Berlusconi party Forza Italia as well as Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva said yes to a continuation of the Mattarella era. Due to the unanimous vote of the coalition parties, Mattarella declared his willingness to move away from his original no to a second term.

Draghi can continue work

Mattarella’s stay in the Quirinal Palace also means that the current government under Mario Draghi can continue its work unchanged. At the end of last year, the former head of the European Central Bank signaled that he could imagine a move to the post of head of state.

A departure from Draghi as Prime Minister would have required the search for a new head of government and probably a cabinet reshuffle. Mattarella’s decision means that the status quo at the top of the state and government will remain in Italy.

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

ruling parties satisfied

In the evening, all parties in the governing coalition were satisfied with the current solution. The chairman of the social democratic PD, Enrico Letta, spoke of a good day for Italy. He thanked Mattarella for his willingness to continue.

It is positive, said the head of the Five Star Movement, Giuseppe Conte, that Mattarella’s second term in office means that the current government under Draghi can continue to work. Lega boss Matteo Salvini emphasized that his party had taken responsibility. After the vetoes of the past few days, it is now a good solution that Mattarella can continue as President and Draghi as Prime Minister.

Salvini tried yesterday to single-handedly push through Senate President Elisabetta Casellati and failed. The extreme right-wing party “Brothers of Italy” has spoken out against Mattarella. Party leader Giorgia Meloni called for Italy’s head of state to be elected directly in future, based on the French model.

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