The Italian parliament will convene on Jan. 24 to begin voting for a new head of state to replace the outgoing Sergio Mattarella, the chief of the lower house of parliament ruled on Tuesday.
The election of a new president of the republic may have major repercussions for the future of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government, which is trying to contain a wave of COVID-19 infections.
Draghi has made clear he would like to become president, bringing to an end his 11-month old government and leaving the country with the choice of either installing a new premier or holding fresh elections a year ahead of schedule.
However, there is no guarantee the 74-year-old former European Central Bank chief will get the job.
The first choice of Italy’s centre-right parties is the 85-year-old four-times prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Other figures considered in with a chance are former lower house speaker Pier Ferdinando Casini, former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato and the current Justice Minister Marta Cartabia.