Presidential election in Italy: Mattarella wants to fix it


Status: 01/29/2022 5:05 p.m

Still head of state Mattarella shows Italy a way out of the muddled presidential search: Although he had actually ruled it out, he now wants to continue for another seven years.

By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Studio Rome

The yes word of Sergios Mattarella came in the afternoon. The leaders of the grand coalition have gone to the Quirinale Palace to ask the head of state to stand for a second term. Julia Unterberger from the South Tyrolean People’s Party then confirmed to the Ansa news agency: Mattarella had agreed to stay on for another seven years. In recent months, the 80-year-old has repeatedly stated that he would not be available for a second term.

Jorg Seisselberg
ARD-Studio Rom

For the parties in Rome, Mattarella’s willingness to continue is the long-awaited way out of a completely muddled situation. At noon, the seventh attempt to elect a new head of state failed in the electoral assembly in the Chamber of Deputies.

Crisis meeting brings about change

The turnaround was then initiated in a parallel meeting of the party leaders of the grand coalition. At the end of this crisis summit, everyone raised their hands for Mattarella: the Five Star Movement, the PD Social Democrats, the left, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva and also the right-wing Lega. Its chairman Matteo Salvini had failed painfully in the past few days with various proposals, from Berlusconi to Senate President Elisabetta Casellati.

Now he says: “We have made proposals of the highest level this week and I said to myself: ‘Instead of going on for days with denials, it is more serious to ask President Mattarella for the commitment and sacrifice to remain in the Quirinal Palace, and Mario Draghi to continue at Palazzo Chigi’.”

Solution in the sense of the Electoral Assembly

Because Mattarella’s continued work as head of state means that Draghi, who was considered a candidate to succeed Mattarella, can continue his work as head of government.

The current solution is also a reaction to the mood in the election assembly. The 1009 electors had already given Mattarella the most votes in the elections on Friday evening and Saturday noon – despite the fact that at that time there was still a no to another term in office. The pro-Mattarella votes remain below the absolute majority, but were a kind of call for help from the voters in the direction of the incumbent.

In view of the current development, former Prime Minister Renzi speaks of a good solution: “Mattarella will work for the next seven years with the same ability, quality and intelligence that distinguished him in these years. Well, that’s excellent news for Italy.”

status quo is maintained

Not only the party leaders of the grand coalition, but also Prime Minister Draghi is said to have played a part in Mattarella’s change of heart. At the end of last year, Draght signaled that he would be available for a promotion to the post of head of state. However, according to Italian media reports, Draghi asked Mattarella in a telephone call today to make himself available for another term in office for the good of the country.

The status quo in Italy will thus be preserved. Five-star boss Giuseppe Conte, who yesterday campaigned for secret service chief Elisabetta Belloni as the new president, praises the current solution: “It also ensures the stability of the government’s work. For us, it was fundamental that this passage did not require a strong and calls into question the determined work of the government, which must not be interrupted.”

The eighth ballot is currently underway, in which the decision of the electors for Mattarella is to be made official. The count is expected to end between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Way out of the dilemma – Mattarella continues

Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Rome, 29.1.2022 4:49 p.m


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