Italy Still Without new President

Italy Still Without new President

After the fifth ballot, Italy continues to look for its new head of state. The 1009 parliamentarians and regional representatives were once again unable to find a candidate for the highest office in the republic.

Maria Elisabetta Casellati, the current President of the Senate, received the most votes with 382 – as the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, announced after the count in Rome. However, she did not manage to obtain the necessary majority of 505 votes.

Italy’s centre-right alliance dared a political showdown in the morning with Casellati’s candidacy. Missing the commitments of the past few days to a joint cross-party proposal, the alliance with Lega boss Salvini surprisingly relied on its own candidate. Salvini praised Casellati as an “institutional candidate”.

The parties of the centre-left alliance, on the other hand, criticize this approach and rejected Casellati. They accuse the Senate President of being too politically close to Berlusconi. The former leader of the Social Democrats, Piero Fassino, spoke of a “severe defeat” for Salvini and the centre-right alliance given Casellati’s failure. Should Salvini continue to insist on going alone, this would also endanger the current grand coalition under Mario Draghi.

In the elections of the past four days, the majority of the 1,009 electors abstained because there was no joint proposal from the parties on the table. What makes the election of a successor to the outgoing President Sergio Mattarella so difficult: no political camp has its own majority in the election assembly. Mutual vetoes have so far prevented potential candidates.

Meanwhile, dissatisfaction is growing between the parties. The party leader of the far-right Fratelli d’Italia complained that it was impossible to decide anything with this parliament.

Image by Caribb (Flickr)/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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