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Sergio Mattarella re-elected President of the Italian Republic after eight rounds of voting

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Monday, January 31st 2022 à 16:50 | Read 469 times

Sergio Mattarella is the first outgoing president in Italian history to be re-elected (photo: Presidency of the Italian Republic)
Sergio Mattarella is the first outgoing president in Italian history to be re-elected (photo: Presidency of the Italian Republic)
ITALY. So much for that... After five days of suspense and eight rounds of voting, Sergio Mattarella was finally re-elected President of the Italian Republic on Saturday 29 January 2022. This was a surprising result given that Mario Draghi, the current President of the Italian Council   (since February 2021), was widely considered the favourite in this race. And that the outgoing President did not want to run for another term.

Sergio Mattarella (80 years old) will therefore remain in the Quirinal Palace in Rome, the official residence of the Head of State, for seven more years.

This election has been a rocky one. There have been many twists and turns, from Silvio Berlusconi's short-lived candidacy to the last-minute fantasy candidacy of actor and pornographic film producer Rocco Siffredi, who claimed to have "done more good for this country than any other politician in history.

Having announced that he did not wish to be re-elected, Sergio Mattarella came first or second in all eight rounds. This is due to the particular indirect and secret voting system that does not require formal candidacy. The 1009 electors (deputies, senators, regional delegates) therefore gave at least one vote to more than thirty politicians.

Mario Draghi preferred to the Presidency of the Council

The first round gave 36 votes to Paolo Maddalena, 16 to Sergio Mattarella, 9 to Marta Cartabia, all three members of no party, and 7 to Silvio Berlusconi (FI), Roberto Cassinelli (FI), Guido De Martini (Lega) and Antonio Tasso (MAIE). Blank ballots accounted for 65.85% of the total (of which 5.02% were invalid). The second ended in a tie (39 votes) between Paola Maddalena and Sergio Mattarella with 54% of blank ballots. And the third ended with four candidates really standing out: Sergio Mattarella (125 votes), Guido Crosetto (114), Paolo Maddalena (61) and Pier Ferdinando Casino with only 42.13% of blank votes.

This deadlock due to the very low number of votes cast is explained by the lack of consensus among the parties on a name. It was also due to the desire of a large majority of voters that Mario Draghi should continue to govern while the reforms promised to obtain the €191.5 billion European recovery fund  should be implemented. In their opinion, the former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) seemed the most competent to manage this delicate period for the country. They therefore did not want him to land in the Quirinal Palace.

Another reason for this hesitation was that several parliamentarians feared that the next President of the Italian Council would provoke a new legislative session and thus not regain their seats. The current government is based on a fragile coalition between the centre-right and the centre-left, cemented by Mario Draghi.

So, to choose, the name of Sergio Mattarella, an independent, was a consensus.

Elected with 759 votes out of 1009

Most observers thought that the election would be decided in the fourth round (as in the previous one in 2015) because an absolute majority is then sufficient to be elected, unlike the first three rounds which required a two-thirds majority. But no candidate has yet emerged, with Sergio Mattarella obtaining 166 votes and Nino Di Matteo 56 (Mario Draghi 5).

It was not until the fifth round that Elisabetta Casellati (née Maria Elisabetta Alberti) significantly distinguished herself by gathering 382 votes against 46 for Sergio Mattarella and 38 for Nino Di Matteo. Mario Draghi obtained only three. She had so far only managed to get three votes at best in the previous four rounds of voting. This result triggered a sixth ballot on the same day, this time with Sergio Mattarella (Elisabetta Casellati got only two votes) and 336 votes in favour. But not enough to be elected. The sixth round gave him 387 votes and the eighth round 759.

In the end, nothing changes in Italy. Sergio Mattarella remains President of the Republic and Mario Draghi President of the Council. Both of them against their will, since one of them aspired to no longer hold office and the other to change it.

This is the first time in Italian history that an outgoing President of the Republic has been given a second term. It will begin on Thursday 3 February 2022.

The prerogatives of the Italian President are above all ceremonial. Although he has the right to appoint members of the government, can dissolve the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic in the event of a crisis and appoints up to five senators for life.

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