Tuesday, June 6

Mattarella, pillar of the Draghi Government

Correspondent in Rome



Surely, nothing will be the same as before in Italian political life. After a week of madness in the presidential election for the Powerlessness of the parties to elect a President of the Republic, Italy has finally won a kind of ‘life insurance’ with the couple Sergio Mattarella, 80 years old, at the Quirinal, and Mario Draghi (74) in the Chigi Palace, the seat of government. “We cannot avoid the duties to which we are called: three emergencies – health, economic and social – impose a sense of responsibility”. With these words, in a brief speech and without any rhetoric, as is his style, President Mattarella responded, on Saturday night, to his re-election in the

Parliament for a new term of seven years, obtaining 759 votes (the quorum was 505), thus becoming the most voted after Sandro Pertini in 1978.

Sergio Mattarella (Palermo, 1941) had reiterated twenty times in recent months his refusal to be re-elected. But on Saturday he could not refuse the request of the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi. A year ago, Mattarella had asked the president of the European Central Bank to take charge of the government, given the inability of the parties to form an Executive with a sufficient parliamentary majority. “Now it’s your turn”, was in summary the request that Draghi made to Mattarella in their morning meeting last Saturday, from which the solution for the presidential election emerged. Sergio Mattarella could not refuse. “If it works, here I am. I do it out of responsibility and for the country,” he told the heads of the parliamentary groups who went to the Quirinal to ask for his availability for re-election.

man of institutions

Sergio Mattarella’s reaction to the clamor that arose throughout the country for his continuation as Head of State corresponds to what his political career has always been, which began almost 40 years ago in Christian democracy: a man of the institutions, a very serious and rigorous jurist and politician, a firm guarantor of the Constitution and of national unity, loved in Italy and highly respected abroad. In a documented biography written by Angelo Gallippi presented these days, it is stated that behind the apparent shyness hides a man with a very determined and resolute behavior: «He is a convinced pro-European, but if necessary also critical, who asked several times for a change of solidarity in Brussels and it was achieved during the pandemic. He has a wide network of relationships, including personal ones, with the European rulers, contacts that he made available to the governments that have succeeded him, without ever taking credit for himself.

Widowed since 2012, with three children and several grandchildren, Sergio Mattarella’s political career began with a family tragedy, when he was a professor of Public Law in Palermo: in 1980 his brother Piersanti, president of the Sicilian region, was assassinated by the mafia. Mattarella entered Parliament for the first time in 1983 and remained until 2008. He was five times minister of various portfolios, including Education and Defense, and in 2011 he was elected by the parliament as a magistrate of the Constitutional Court, a position he held until his election. as President of the Republic, whose first term began on February 3, 2015.

Relief in Italy and in the EU

Today not only Italy thanks Mattarella for his sacrifice of continuing at the Quirinal to another seven-year term, but also European countries and financial markets have reacted with relief. Italy will be able to maintain the stability and credibility that it gained in 2021 with the Draghi government. At the same time, avoid chaos and confusion for at least the next 12 months – the elections are scheduled for spring 2023-. Mario Draghi at the Chigi Palace with the support of Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal will be in a position to consolidate the reforms begun a year ago. 2022 will be a decisive year for Italy: The second installment of 40,000 million euros of European funds must be won, with 66 reforms within the month of June. In total, Italy will receive some 200 billion euros in non-refundable loans and aid, which represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost growth that has been stagnant for two decades while its public debt grew, which today approaches 160% of GDP.

With Matarella’s re-election, apparently nothing has changed. But this is not the case, because in recent days there has been a fierce fight within the parties and in the coalitions of the right and left, which will have consequences in the leadership of the political forces. With the Draghi-Mattarella couple, the government is strengthened and many things will have to change in Italian politics. The path will be marked by the President of the Republic in the speech he will address to Parliament in a joint session of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, next Thursday, the day of the oath.

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