The first parliamentary vote to elect the next head of state of Italy, replacing Sergio Mattarella, whose term expires on February 3, has concluded this Monday without success since the parties chose to vote blank in view of the lack of agreement politician about a candidate.
In total, 672 blank ballots in a vote in which 976 voters participated out of the 1,008 deputies, senators and regional delegates with the right to elect the new president and who will try again tomorrow in a new count in the Chamber of Deputies. In recent hours, the option of Mario Draghi passing from the Head of Government to that of State is gaining strength, after he has taken a step forward and has been involved in political meetings, of which until now he had remained aloof margin.
Salvini and Letta will continue their “dialogue”
Both the leaders of the right and the left have multiplied their meetings during the day to test possible candidates and in fact Matteo Salvini, of the far-right League, and Enrico Letta, of the progressive Democratic Party (PD, left), opened “a dialogue “which will continue tomorrow. Letta has defended Draghi in recent days, while the right, which has the greatest parliamentary weight, claims that it is up to him to indicate the name.
“I am working so that in the next few hours the united right offers not one, but several quality proposals,” said Salvini, one of the most active in the negotiations throughout the day. The election of Draghi, who already hinted at his interest in being the next head of state in December, would require the appointment of another figure at the head of the Italian government, if the legislature, which ends in 2023, is to be exhausted.
In the first vote, 1,008 voters participated, due to the death this weekend of Forza Italia deputy Enzo Fasano, but as of tomorrow there will be 1,009, since Rossella Sessa, also from Forza Italia, will take his place. In the first three votes, a two-thirds majority is needed for a name to be elected (673 voters), but from the fourth, which will be on Thursday, it will be enough to have an absolute majority (505). The session began at 3:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. GMT) in the Chamber of Deputies and lasted about six hours.
The parliamentarians were able to access the plenary session in groups of fifty and in alphabetical order, to avoid crowds due to the pandemic; while those infected with coronavirus, who have been a fortnight, were able to cast their votes in the parking lot of the lower house. At the end, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, read the ballots for the recount. He read the first and last name when both were written and only the last name when it was enough to identify the chosen person. He did it this way to avoid the tricks frequently used by the parties, which design specific ways of writing the names to later identify how many members have distanced themselves from the official dictated line.
The right, greater representativeness
The right-wing bloc, made up of Forza Italia and the extreme right-wing Liga and Hermanos de Italia, claims the right to elect Mattarella’s successor, because they have greater parliamentary representation, but they have 454 voters, so they have to win the support of other parties. In the fourth session, where half plus one of the voters will suffice, they will need to add about 50 from other parties or the mixed group to reach the goal of 505.
The bloc on the left, formed by the Democratic Party (PD), Free and Equal, together with the populist 5 Star Movement (M5S), is further away and starts with 405 voters. In this context, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the forty voters of his small party, Italia Viva, may be crucial to unblock the situation, since the votes are tight and every number counts. Berlusconi had shown aspirations to become head of state, but gave up his dream on Saturday after finding the necessary support lacking. Even so, his conservative party and the rest of his partners on the right ask that the next head of state be one of their candidates, while the parties on the left are inclined to be an institutional figure.