Monday, May 16

The center right votes today for the president of the Senate before the indignation of the left


Correspondent in Rome

Updated:

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Everyone against everyone in the fight for the Quirinal. Another chaotic day of great confusion in parliament is expected this Friday. At midnight the center-right meeting concluded and it was announced that this Friday its parliamentarians will vote for the president of the Senate, Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, 75 years old, the second authority of the State, of Forza Italia. (Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy proposed former magistrate Carlo Nordio).

The indignation of the center left is maximum. Enrico Letta, leader of the Democratic Party (PD) had already flatly rejected that candidacy: «Propose the candidacy of the second authority of the State, together with the opposition party [Hermanos de Italia], against his government allies would be an operation never seen in the history of the Quirinal.

Absurd and incomprehensible. In short, it would represent the most direct way to blow everything up.” Letta reiterated today: “Enough of provocations.”

It will be difficult for the fifth vote, started at eleven in the morning, the president of the Senate Casellati obtains the absolute majority (505 votes), except that to the 455 votes of the center right, another fifty ballots are added, perhaps from the 5 Star Movement. The center-right’s decision may lead to a breakup of the majority that supports Mario Draghi’s national unity government, made up of all parties except Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy.

The immediate consequence is that the Executive could be greatly weakened, opening the door to early elections. The Democratic Party clearly speaks of the risk that the government majority will be broken and there will be an early election: «If Elisabetta Casellati were elected to the Quirinal, the majority ends, we are going to early elections and the political framework with which, until now, an extraordinary emergency situation has been managed with great difficulty, is broken, ”said Enrico Borghi, deputy and member of the PD secretariat.

“Espectáculo indecoroso”

It was believed that the election of the thirteenth president of the Republic would be one of the easiest in recent times, taking into account that there was a great favorite, Mario Draghi. But the great fragmentation of the parliament, the deep division of the parties and coalitions has prevented reaching a consensus on a candidate. Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi claims that the “show is unseemly.”

The center right, which has the relative majority in parliament (455 deputies and senators, compared to 430 from the center left), considers that it has the right to propose its candidate. In turn, the center-left estimates that a consensus Chair, since no coalition has an absolute majority.

If the center-right’s attempt to impose its own candidate fails, Draghi and Mattarella would remain as last resorts

If the center-right’s attempt to impose its own candidate fails, the two important options left in the field would be Prime Minister Mario Draghi and President Sergio Mattarella, who ends his seven-year term on February 3 and who has so far turned down the possibility of being re-elected. The candidacy of Draghi would be a last resource given the inability of the coalitions to agree on a consensus candidate.

But in the event that there is no agreement on Draghi either, because until now the League, Forza Italia and the 5 Star Movement insist that he must continue as prime minister, all eyes would be directed towards the current tenant of the Quirinal, Sergio Mattarella.

In yesterday’s voting, Mattarella obtained 166 votes (on Wednesday there were 125), which represents around 30% of the ballots deposited in the ballot box. This vote in favor of Mattarella, despite his denial of re-election, has a double meaning: On the one hand, the recognition of an esteemed president, with very high popularity for the great management he carried out during his mandate; therefore, many want its continuity. On the other hand, by voting for Mattarella, many voters show their dissent and protest against the party leaders, who are unable to find a super-party consensus candidate.

The possibility of a reelection of Mattarella is remote. These days, from the Quirinal Palace, photos with the president’s moving boxes have been sent to the media, who recently rented an apartment in Rome to move his residence there from February 3. He could only accept his continuance at the Quirinal if parliament was unable to find a successor and begged him to continue as head of state. Many parties consider that it would be the best solution, because it would allow Mario Draghi to continue as prime minister. Political stability and the continuity of the reforms by the Draghi government, which enjoys great international prestige and in the financial markets, would thus be guaranteed. But, at the same time, Mattarela’s re-election would mean the failure of the Italian political class, showing its inability to come to an agreement to elect a President of the Republic. In short, the continuity of Sergio Mattarella is today the “extreme ratio”.

Casellati, fiel de Berlusconi

The fog returns to parliament today and there will only be clarity after the result obtained by the president of the Senate. Casellati, who will meet 76 years on August 12, maintains a historic relationship with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. She has been a member of Forza Italia since its foundation in 1994. She was elected immediately afterwards to occupy a seat in the Senate. A matrimonial lawyer, in 2014 she was elected by Parliament as a member of the Superior Council of the Judiciary. In March 2018, she was elected to the presidency of the Senate with 240 votes, out of a total of 320, with the support of the 5-Star Movement being decisive at that time. Elisabetta Casellati defines herself as Catholic and conservative. The leader of the League, Mateo Salvini told her: “I will make you president.”

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