President Matarella resigns: the right-wing bloc backs Berlusconi’s candidacy

President Matarella resigns
The right-wing bloc backs Berlusconi’s candidacy

Politically, Berlusconi has not played a role for a long time, but the dazzling ex-head of government wants to become president of Italy. He certainly has the support of the political far right. However, Prime Minister Draghi could also throw his hat in the ring. And a music legend.

Italy’s right-wing parties have declared their support for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s candidacy for the presidency. The agreement came after a meeting between Berlusconi and the leader of the far-right Lega party, Matteo Salvini, and the leader of the neo-fascist Fratelli d’Italia party, Giorgia Meloni.

The three party leaders “agree that Silvio Berlusconi is the right person to hold high office in this difficult situation”, they said. The Italian president represents the country’s national unity, the parties stressed. In order to do justice to his role, he must have “authority, poise and an international reputation”. Berlusconi brings the necessary “authority and experience” that the country deserves.

Experts do not believe in Berlusconi’s success

Italy will start electing a new president in ten days. President Sergio Mattarella will step down on February 3, at the end of his seven-year term. Although it is a rather representative position, the president has a central role to play in times of crisis. Only a few pundits believe Berlusconi, who was sent into the race by his right-wing Forza Italia party, will succeed. The 85-year-old was eventually convicted and remains embroiled in charges related to his previous sex parties.

Many other names for the presidential candidacy have been circulating in the Italian press for weeks, including the current European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni, the former Christian Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pier Ferdinando Casini, and 82-year-old Giuliano Amato, fervent European and co-author of the European Constitution.

Will Draghi remain Prime Minister?

Recently, even Italian rock legend Gianna Nannini had put her candidacy on the line. In a video on Instagram, she said: “I take this opportunity to officially present myself for the position of President of the Italian Republic.” She would be the first woman to hold office.

A move by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to the Quirinal Palace is also seen as possible. However, Draghi has not publicly commented on this. Additionally, Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party has threatened to quit the broad coalition government if Draghi becomes president. Many Italians hope that Draghi will remain head of government until the end of the 2023 legislature in order to continue to push forward important reforms for the country. Moreover, it will be difficult to find a successor who will hold the government coalition together as well as the 74-year-old.

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