With a few days remaining for Italian parliamentarians and regional representatives to elect their new president, the ‘Colle roulette’ is now spinning fast… and the picture of the emerging winner has never been so confused – a real mission impossible.
Because with the overwhelming majority of party leaders who do not control the troops and with a hundred or so wandering parliamentarians with no one to guide them, the Italians are still, even at this late hour, in the dark.
In history there have been rapid elections, others much more tortuous and even a situation in which, in 2013, there was a re-election of the incumbent president, Giorgio Napolitano.
One cannot fail to start with the present incumbent, Sergio Mattarella and the unavailability for his re-election. The 80-year-old has already repreatedly expressed his unwillingness to stand for re-election at the moment or, at least, continue to remain at the Quirinale until next year’s general elections to allow Prime Minister Mario Draghi to remain in the government until the end of the natural expiry of the legislature.
Draghi would then be the automatic choice to the Quirinale. For now, these are scenarios that do not find Mattarella’s availability.
What are the chances of Mario Draghi moving from the Government to the Quirinale? Given the broad support he has in Parliament with his government, Mario Draghi could probably be the candidate elected to the Quirinale even in the first vote. But will the former European Central Bank head prematurely interrupt his government experience with the speech of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan still to be completed?
He has still not given a direct yes or no answer.
It may well be that if Draghi is elected as president, then a new government be headed by the Minister of Economy Daniele Franco or the Minister of Justice Marta Cartabia.
Silvio Berlusconi at the Quirinale? A possible hypothesis? Certainly the centre-right have numbers in Parliament that legitimately allow them to have a chance. But the three-time prime minister and media mogul is still undecided whether to accept the invitation of the leaders of Fratelli d’Italia (FdI), Giorgia Meloni, and the Lega, Matteo Salvini, who deem him as offering the “authoritativeness and experience the country deserves”.
If the name for the Quirinale that warms the hearts of a large part of the center-right is that of Silvio Berlusconi, the name that warms the hearts of a large part of the centre-left is that of Romano Prodi.
Already in 2013, his name was among the candidates but the votes for the former prime minister were not forthcoming. Being one of the founding fathers of the centre-left in Italy, he could end up on the list of candidates also by virtue of a consolidated relationship with the current secretary of the Democratic Party Enrico Letta.
However, Romano Prodi himself in a recent interview formally excluded his candidacy.
Pier Ferdinando Casini
Another name that circulates with some insistence is that of Pier Ferdinando Casini, in a candidacy of broad agreements. He could be the kind of profile on which centre-right and centre-left converge as he has supported governments in both coalitions. He has worked side by side with exponents of both sides and could be a synthetic figure.
Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati
Another possibility is that of the President of the Senate Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati. At each election of the President of the Italian Republic, the possibility that one of the presidents of the two chambers may be elected to the Quirinale must never be ignored. Especially in situations of a stalemate.
The President of the Chamber Roberto Fico is not eligible as he is not yet 50 years old – the minimum age required to be elected to the highest office of the State. However, the hypothesis of the President of the Senate Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati cannot be excluded.
The current president of the Senate, second in charge of the state, could also become that institutional figure on which it is possible to arrive at a synthesis of different souls. And in the event of an election, she too could be the first woman in the history of the Republic to be elected to the Quirinale.
Nor are possibilities for the current Minister of Justice Marta Cartabia to be excluded. The jurist and constitutionalist could be another figure not too marked from a political point of view on which a broad convergence in Parliament between different forces could also be created.
And she could be, just like Casellati, the first woman to be elected to the Quirinale. Cartabia has already been the first woman to hold the position of President of the Constitutional Court.
Cartabia could also be called upon to lead the government personally in the event of the election of Draghi al Colle with the consequent formation of a new government and not an early termination of the legislature.
The name of Cartabia had already circulated in the hypothesis of a possible prime minister in charge already at the time of the crisis of the Conte government.
To get elected President of the Italian Republic, a two-thirds majority of votes is needed in the first three votes. From the fourth call, an absolute majority is sufficient. Therefore, net of absences, 673 votes are needed in the first votes and 505 from the fourth ballot.