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Italy to elect new Italian president tomorrow. Or not. PDF Print E-mail
Jan 30, 2015 at 10:10 PM

ImageAll 951 members of the Italian Parliament and 58 representatives of the country's 20 regions began voting yesterday to elect a successor to President Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned his office on January 13.


As predicted, the first three roll call votes ended without any candidate receiving the two-thirds majority, 673 votes, called for for the first three ballots. Tomorrow, Saturday, the number of votes needed to elect a new Head of State drops to 505, a simple majority, and Premier Matteo Renzi has repeatedly said he expects his party’s candidate, former MP Sergio Mattarella, 73, to be elected without further delay.


But will he be? Renzi’s party and its allies should have enough votes to elect Mattarella IF, and it’s a big IF, the members of his Democratic Party (Partito Democratico)  keep their word to vote for the highly respected Sicilian jurist and former cabinet minister when they put their secret ballot in the ballot box and whether the members of the other, smaller government parties, such as the New Center Right (NCD), will also go along.


Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party has officially said they will not vote for Mattarella, currently a judge sitting on Italy’s Constitutional Court; Although Mattarella is not a leftist and therefore should have been acceptable to Berlusconi, the two have clashed on media and other issues in the past and Berlusconi is, once again, putting his own personal issues ahead of the needs of the country.


 If Mattarella is elected) despite Berlusconi’s opposition tomorrow on the fourth ballot (in Italian history, only two presidents have been elected on the first ballot) it will also confirm that the former TV and real estate magnate’s political influence is rapidly disintegrating.  And it will be interesting to see if all of Forza Italia’s representatives actually follow Berlusconi’s lead on this question or whether they, too, may use the secret of the ballot box to vote according to conscience, i. e. for Mattarella.


Berlusconi’s opposition to Mattarella has effectively ended a highly controversial period of cooperation between Forza Italia and the PD, or more precisely between Berlusconi and Renzi . Renzi has no doubt lost some potential voter support in recent years (remember, he has yet to win a national election) because of the so-called Nazarene Pact (named after the hall where the two parties held talks two years ago) so, who knows, maybe his insistence on Mattarella, despite Berlusconi’s disagreement, may have had ulterior motives.




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