Italian lawmakers will elect the country’s next president on January 24 with Sergio Berlusconi and current prime minister Mario Draghi among the top contenders.
Even if their functions are in theory essentially honorary, the President of the Italian Republic has a key role in the event of a government crisis.
It was in this context that the outgoing president, Sergio Mattarella, turned to Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, in February to succeed Giuseppe Conte as prime minister after the latter lost his majority in parliament.
Berlusconi Presidente della Repubblica
Draghi, 74, has since been at the head of a broad government coalition ranging from the left to Matteo Salvini’s sovereignist League and the right-wing of Silvio Berlusconi, who at 85 would like to see himself as president but is considered divisive. But that will not deter the former leader Berlusconi, he has a knack for making deals and no one is betting against him.
In fact, when searching for Berlusconi – the first thing that comes up is Berlusconi Presidente della Repubblica.
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Among the other potentials tipped for the job is the former Christian Democrat president of the Chamber of Deputies, Pier Ferdinando Casini; former head of government and current European Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni; and Giuliano Amato, an 82-year-old European enthusiast who helped draft the European Constitution.
The method of electing the president is rather complex. MPs and senators, joined by representatives of 20 Italian regions — about a thousand people in all — come together to vote.