By Chris King • 29 January 2022 • 21:20
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Sergio Mattarella, the 80-year-old President of Italy, has agreed today, Saturday, January 29, after six days of often tense voting in Rome, to serve for a second term. This decision comes after Mr Draghi’s wide-ranging coalition government failed to agree on an alternative candidate for the office, after the eighth round of voting.
The outgoing head of state had said, “I had other plans but, if necessary, I am available”, and became the second president in history with the highest number of votes. He achieved 759 votes in favour, far exceeding the required minimum threshold of 505.
It is believed that Prime Minister Mario Draghi played an integral role in convincing Mattarella, with local media reporting that Draghi had told him it was best for the stability of the country if he was to stay.
Mariastella Gelmini, Italy’s Minister for Regional Affairs officially announced Mr Mattarella’s decision. The minister hailed the former Constitutional Court judge’s “sense of responsibility, and his attachment to the country and its institutions”.
So many rounds of voting failed to achieve a result, and this appears to reveal deep divisions inside Mario Draghi’s coalition government. After many lawmakers abstained from voting, and candidates put forward by the governing parties failed to gather enough support, Mr Mattarella finally emerged as the compromise candidate.
The vote for the President of Italy is shrouded in secrecy. It comprises an electoral college of 1,009 senators, MPs, and some regional delegates. Once a candidate receives two-thirds of the votes, they are declared the winner.
Already aged 80, it would seem doubtful that Mattarella would want to see out the full seven years of his term. There has already been speculation by some that he could eventually step aside after the 2023 Italian elections, and let Draghi take his place as President.
While the role as President of Italy is mostly a ceremonial role, in times of political crisis it takes on a more powerful position. It carries the power to dissolve parliament, choose new prime ministers, and deny mandates to weak coalitions, as reported by bbc.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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