With barely 36 hours remaining for the first ballot in the Italian presidential election, more than ever the vote underlines a fundamental junction for Italian politics and history. It’s timing reflects the balance and climate of the country.
Including the first provisional head of state, Italy had 13 presidents.
Sandro Pertini still holds the record of preferences won and Giovanni Leone that of the highest number of ballots before being elected. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi’s name, on the other hand, was the one chosen in the shortest time. Giorgio Napolitano is the only one to have been elected twice in a row.
This is how the votes of the head of state went in Italian history:
Enrico de Nicola
Provisional Head of State, he was elected on June 28, 1946 by the Constituent Assembly with 396 votes out of 501. He was president from July 1, 1946 to December 31, 1947, the shortest term in the history of the Italian Republic.
On the fourth ballot he took 518 votes out of 871. He was elected on 11 May 1948.
Even for him only four ballots and passage to the first absolute majority vote. He was elected on April 28, 1955 as he garnered 658 votes out of 833 voters.
With three votes in one day, on the ninth ballot he was elected with 443 votes out of 842. He remained in office from May 6, 1962 until December 6, 1964, when he voluntarily resigned.
21 ballots were required for the election and in the end, Saragat got 646 votes out of 927. Theyalso voted on Christmas Day. He was elected on December 28, 1964.
He was elected on December 24, 1971 after 23 ballots, a record figure. He passed the quorum with a difference of only 13 votes, taking 518 votes out of 996 voters.
It took 16 ballots to elect him with 832 votes out of 995 voters, a record of preferences still unbeaten. He was elected on July 8, 1978.
His was a very rapid election that took place in exactly three hours. Only one ballot was needed and 752 votes out of 979 voters. He was the youngest Head of State in Italian history, elected on June 24, 1985 at the age of 57.
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro
He took 672 votes out of 1002 voting in the sixteenth ballot on May 25, 1992. The election was accelerated by the Capaci massacre, a terror attack by the Sicilian Mafia which took place two days before, assassinating inquiring magistrate Giovanni Falcone.
Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
He was elected on May 13, 1999. He holds the absolute speed record: 2 hours and 40 minutes and only one ballot. Ciampi took 707 votes out of 990 voters.
Giorgio Napolitano (i)
Elected on 10 May 2006, on the fourth ballot, taking 543 out of 990 voters.
Giorgio Napolitano (ii)
He was re-elected on April 20, 2013 on the sixth ballot with 738 votes out of 997 voters. He resigned on January 14, 2015.
The outgoing president was elected on the fourth ballot with 665 votes, just under two-thirds of the elective assembly. The vote took place between 29 and 31 January 2015.