Italy's presidential polls to start on 24 Jan: All you need to know about voting process

The president will be elected by an electoral college for a seven-year term. It consists of two parliamentary panel members, 630 parliamentarians and 320 senators, and 58 representatives

Agence France-Presse January 21, 2022 17:04:24 IST
Italy's presidential polls to start on 24 Jan: All you need to know about voting process

File image of the Italian Parliament. AFP

Rome: The Italian Parliament will begin voting for the new president on Monday. This process can take several days, and once Prime Minister Mario Draghi takes on that task, there is a risk of destabilising the government.

The president will be elected this year by an electoral college for a seven-year term.

It consists of two parliamentary members, 630 parliamentarians and 320 senators (usually 321 but empty seats), and 58 representatives from the Italian region.

In the first three rounds of voting, the winner must secure at least a two-thirds majority (672 votes). From the 4th round, an absolute majority (505) is sufficient.

Voting papers are secretly cast directly in the Capitol below.

Voters must also show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination, recent infections, or negative tests.

The president is the head of state and supports the Italian Constitution, which became a republic after the referendum after World War II.

The main roles include the nomination of the prime minister and the nomination of the Minister of Government on the advice of the PM.

The president has the authority to dissolve the parliament in consultation with the chair and seek a review of the bill.

This kind of arbitration is important during a political crisis. It was President Sergio Mattarella who welcomed Draghi as prime minister in February 2021.

The president also has the right to appoint and pardon one-third of the members of the Constitutional Court.

Under the Constitution, anyone with Italian nationality over the age of 50 is eligible and there is no official candidate list.

Draghi, a non-party career economist, appeared to hint at his availability in December and called himself “a grandfather serving the institution.”

Forza Italia’s 85-year-old leader, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, is campaigning behind the scenes.

Other potential candidates include former prime minister Giuliano Amato (83), Paolo Gentiloni (67-year-old EU Economic Commissioner), and former Deputy Council speaker Pierferdinand Casini (66). It is included.

Many want Italy’s first female president. Both current and former ministers of justice Marta Cartabia (58) and Paola Severino (73), as well as Senate chair Elizabetta Casellati (66), can take up this job.

The secret nature of the vote has cast some surprises in the elections of 12 presidents since 1948-only one of them, Giorgio Napolitano (2006-2015), was elected for the second term.

The role was traditionally not left to the leader, but someone was considered to be on top of a political struggle.

However, race favorites are often left empty-handed.

In 2013, former prime minister Romano Prodi was nominated for a centre-left Democratic Party, but was betrayed by some of his supporters and Napolitano won.

The official residence of the president is the Quirinale Palace, where the Pope and King of Italy once lived.

The vast 110,500-square-meter building on the hill of the same name is one of the largest presidential residences beyond Turkey alone.

Construction began in 1573 for the Pope’s Summer capital. In contrast to the Vatican, which was the seat of their spiritual power, it became their foundation as a secular ruler.

From Gregory XIII to Pius IX, about 30 popes lived there. Under French rule, Napoleon ordered a renovation to make it a Roman residence, but he never set foot there.

The Italian royalty lived there from 1870 until the declaration of the Republic in 1946. The republic has become the residence of the head of state.

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