Presidential election in Italy: Voting is open

As of: 01/24/2022 6:44 p.m

A new president is currently being elected in Italy. Prime Minister Draghi is a possible candidate. But for many he is too important in his current position – as a guarantor of stability.

By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Studio Rome

Shortly after 3 p.m., Parliament President Roberto Fico declared the election open. Umberto Bossi was the first to drive into one of the burgundy voting booths in front of the President’s desk in the plenary hall of the Chamber of Deputies in a wheelchair. For the 80-year-old senator of the Lega Nord – like for all other of the more than 1000 electors – the election takes place under strict hygiene conditions.

Jorg Seisselberg
ARD-Studio Rom

In order to ensure sufficient distance, only 50 voters are allowed to be in the plenary hall at any one time. Clocked by timeslots, they are brought in in groups. Tents have been set up in the parliament car park for people who are corona positive. The vote, which was particularly time-consuming this time, should be over at around 7.30 p.m.

Exit unknown

As clear as the election procedure is, the outcome is unclear. The major parties are still reluctant to put a proposal on the table. The current head of government, Mario Draghi, is still considered a possible candidate for promotion to the highest office. As head of a grand coalition, he is believed to be able to get a broad majority in the election assembly.

However, Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party renewed its no to Draghi as president. Party coordinator and former EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani stressed that Draghi must remain head of government.

Worry about instability

“We need government stability,” Tajani said. “We need a government that, given the challenges, will remain in office until the end of the legislature.” Mario Draghi is the best guarantor of national unity.

The fear that Draghi’s move to the post of president could end the current grand coalition and bring about political instability is also affecting others.

Presidency plays important role

The head of the Five Star Movement and former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, for example, emphasized shortly before today’s vote that the goal is to maintain the continuity of the government. You have a highly respected Prime Minister, and there are still many tasks ahead of this government that have not yet been completed, according to Conte.

Draghi supporters, on the other hand, point out that the President of Italy plays an important role, being both an anchor of stability and a pointer in government crises.

Other parties are playing for time

The parties of the center-left alliance, but also representatives of the right-wing Lega, have announced that they will abstain from today’s first ballot. The parties are playing for time.

Thursday is the target. Then, from the fourth ballot, only an absolute majority is required, i.e. 50 percent plus one. A point in time when the Draghi name could officially be on the table.

In order to get the situation moving, the leader of the Social Democrats, Enrico Letta, and the head of the right-wing Lega, Matteo Salvini, have announced a joint meeting. In the conversation, the possibility of a cross-party solution will be explored.

Multi-day vote expected in presidential election in Italy

Anja Miller, ARD Rome, daily news at 5:00 p.m., January 24th, 2022

Little chance for the little ones

Only smaller parties made recommendations for today’s first ballot. For example, the “Europe+” group of former EU Commissioner Emma Bonino and the “Action” party of former Economy Minister Carlo Calenda are campaigning for the current Justice Minister Marta Cartabia.

The right-wing party “Brothers of Italy” proposes former judge Carlo Nordio. Both Cartabia and Nordio should only get a handful of votes. It is considered certain that no one will receive the required two-thirds majority in the first ballot.

A total of 1008 parliamentarians from the Chamber of Deputies and Senate as well as representatives of the regions are entitled to vote. A deputy died yesterday, the successor is to be named on Wednesday.

Presidential elections in Italy have begun – the parties’ tug of war continues

Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Rome, 24.1.2022 5:28 p.m

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