Political leaders struggle to decide Italy’s next president

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As feuding Italian political leaders scrambled Saturday to reach a deal to choose Italy’s next president, President Sergio Mattarella appeared to be gaining momentum to reconsider his refusal to serve a second term as head of state, a role intended to unify the can. nation.

Members of parliament and regional delegates voted on Saturday for the seventh time since voting for a head of state began earlier in the week. Several party leaders said their lawmakers would either abstain or cast blank votes, effectively dooming any chance that the round would return at least 505 votes – just over half of the eligible Grand Electors – for any candidate, the majority needed for the election. victory.

Round after round of unsuccessful votes since Monday have made clear the deep rivalries between the parties in Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad coalition, formed nearly a year ago to guide Italy through the pandemic and help it recover economically, thanks to the billions in the promised European Union. money.

Rallying rivals and even allies to back a name for president has so far proven difficult.

A day after a candidate from the centre-right bloc fell short of the necessary majority, right-wing leader Matteo Salvini said the 80-year-old Mattarella should reconsider his refusal of a second seven-year term.

In Friday night’s voting, Mattarella garnered by far the most votes, despite his repeated insistence in recent weeks that he considers himself finished in the largely ceremonial role.

“We believe that it is no longer serious to continue with the ‘no’s’ and the crossed vetoes,” said Salvini, who heads the anti-immigrant League party and has ambitions to be the country’s next prime minister. He said it was time to ‘Tell the president to reconsider’.

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Without citing sources, state television’s RaiNews24 said Draghi was contacting various political leaders to back Mattarella.

There is a risk that a prolonged deadlock over elections and the spectacle of political bickering as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic could damage Italy’s international credibility, which the Draghi government has bolstered.

In the latest rift between the allies, the far-right leader of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, was quick to attack Salvini’s lobbying for Mattarella.

“Salvini proposes that everyone go beg Mattarella to have another term as president of the republic,” Meloni tweeted. “I don’t want to believe it.”

As the only leader of a major opposition party, Meloni has indicated she would be happy to see Draghi, whose successful intervention as president of the European Central Bank to save the euro, become president. That would free up the prime minister’s office and possibly create enough political instability to trigger the snap elections she wants.

As public wrangling unfolded, behind-the-scenes efforts continued to find a candidate who could help unify the nation by being “super parties,” or above the political fray.

One name touted for weeks has been Senator Pier Ferdinando Casini, whose various political identities seem to clash with the impartiality required of a head of state. Early in his career he was a staunch ally of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a conservative. But Casini also formed his own pro-Catholic centrist party, and won the Senate seat he currently holds with a ticket that included the Democrats, Italy’s largest left-wing party.

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www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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