The first call for the election of the President of the Republic ended as many political commentators expected, with a flurry of blank votes. 672 grand electors – MPs from both Houses of Parliament and regional bodies – submitted an empty vote after the main parties failed to reach an agreement.
Among the candidates getting on the scoresheet, former Vice President of the Constitutional Court, Paolo Maddalena, with 36, and outgoing President Sergio Mattarella (16), with the latter already stating that he had no intention of extended his stay in the Presidential Palace. As typical of this first round of voting in the secret Presidential elections, some electors put down the names of renowned personalities, such as TV presenter Amadeus, Lazio President Claudio Lotito and journalist Bruno Vespa.
As the voting took place, leaders of Italy’s main political parties met to seek a deal over a new head of state and break an impasse that threatens to derail Mario Draghi’s government and unleash political instability. Draghi, who leads a national unity administration, has made clear he would like the prestigious job, which has a 7-year term and may be more appealing than heading up his fractious coalition ahead of elections due early next year.
However, with Italy facing a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and deaths, there is a reluctance among some parties to back Draghi for fear his departure could lead to a snap vote they want to avoid.
Some 1,008 people are eligible to take part in the election: the 630 members of the lower house of parliament, the 320 members of the upper house Senate, including five life senators, and 58 delegates dispatched by regional governments. To get elected, someone must win two-thirds of the possible vote in any of the first three ballots – equal to 672 in Monday’s vote. For, the fourth round, a simple majority of those eligible to vote is required.
In an editorial, influential political magazine The Economist said that Draghi’s Presidential bid was “bad for Italy and Europe”, arguing that his government had made a good start on implementing the reforms and investments needed to absorb the cash productively. But his barely disguised hankering to quit the prime minister’s residence, the Chigi Palace, for the grander Quirinale puts it at risk”, it said.
via Repubblica, Reuters, Tgcom, The Economist