Italy.. President Mattarella agrees to stay in office for a second term after the parties failed to find a consensus candidate
Italian President Sergio Mattarella has agreed to stay in office for a second term, after ruling parties failed to find a consensus candidate during a week of often charged voting in parliament.
Regional Affairs Minister Maria Stella Gilmini said on Saturday that Mattarella, 80, had agreed to stay for a second term after ruling parties asked him to reconsider his decision to leave the post.
“President Mattarella’s readiness to serve for a second term, at the request of the vast majority of political parties, shows his sense of responsibility and his adherence to the state and its institutions,” she added.
Informed sources said that Prime Minister Mario Draghi met Mattarella today, and asked him to give up his intention to retire, in order to ensure the country’s political stability.
Draghi spoke to party leaders, expressing his hope that MPs would support his plan.
Mattarella received 387 votes in today’s vote, well short of the 505 votes required. But the vote showed growing support for him among the 1,009 politicians voting in the presidential election.
The 7-year term of Matarella will expire on the 3rd of next February.
Earlier, the head of the right-wing League, Matteo Salvini, said that “Italians do not deserve to face further days of confusion” and called on Mattarella to “sacrifice for the good of the country.”
This is the second time in a row that a president has been asked to renew his term, in 2013 political leaders asked then head of state Giorgio Napolitano to stay after they failed to find a consensual candidate.
Napolitano reluctantly agreed, but resigned two years later after a new government was formed, opening the way for Mattarella to take over the presidency.
The president is a central figure in Italy, who appoints the prime minister and is often used to solve political crises in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.
The president is elected by secret ballot in which 1,009 representatives of parliament and representatives of the regions participate, and sometimes there is a struggle between party leaders for dominance.
Draghi had previously expressed his desire to take over the position of president, but the major parties have so far refused to put his name to a vote, some of which are due to fear that the sudden shift in roles would cause a collapse in the government.