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‘It’s not serious anymore’: No seventh-round winner as Italian lawmakers fail to elect president

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‘It’s not serious anymore’: No seventh-round winner as Italian lawmakers fail to elect president

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As Italy’s political leaders struggled on Saturday to hammer out a deal to elect Italy’s next president, momentum appeared to be building for President Sergio Mattarella to reconsider his refusal to serve a second term as head of state – a role intended to unify the nation.

MPs and regional delegates were voting on Saturday for the seventh time since balloting for a head of state began earlier in the week.

Several party leaders have said their lawmakers will abstain or vote blank, dooming any chance the round will yield at least 505 votes – representing a simple majority of eligible voters – for a candidate, the majority needed for victory.

Round after round of unsuccessful polls since Monday have exposed the deep rivalries between parties in Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad coalition, formed nearly a year ago to lead Italy through the pandemic and guide the economic recovery with the help of billions of euros pledged union funds.

Gathering rivals or even allies to back a name for the president has so far proven elusive.

A day after a candidate from the center-right bloc failed to achieve the necessary majority, right-wing leader Matteo Salvini of Lega Nord says Mattarella, 80, should reconsider his refusal of a second seven-term term year.

In Friday night’s poll, Mattarella garnered by far the most votes, despite his repeated insistence in recent weeks that he considers himself done with the largely ceremonial role.

“We think it’s no longer serious to continue with ‘no’s and cross vetoes,” said Salvini, who leads the anti-migrant League party and has ambitions to be the next prime minister of the country.

He said it was time to “tell the president to reconsider.”

Without citing sources, state television’s RaiNews24 said Draghi was contacting various political leaders to side with Mattarella.

There is a risk that a prolonged deadlock over the election and the spectacle of political wrangling as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic could damage Italy’s international credibility, which Draghi’s government had bolstered. .

In the latest rift between allies, far-right Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni quickly attacked Salvini’s lobbying for Mattarella.

“Salvini proposes that everyone go implore Mattarella for another term as President of the Republic,” Meloni tweeted. “I don’t want to believe it.”

As the only major party leader in opposition, Meloni has indicated she would be happy to see Draghi, whose successful intervention as European Central Bank president to save the euro, become president.

It would free up the prime minister’s office and perhaps create enough political instability to trigger the snap election she wants.

As the public feuds unfolded, efforts were made behind the scenes to find a candidate who could help unify the nation by being “super partes”, or above the political fray.

A name touted for weeks is that of Senator Pier Ferdinando Casini, whose different political identities seem to come up against the impartiality required of a head of state.

Early in his career he was a staunch ally of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a conservative.

But Casini also formed his own pro-Catholic centrist party, and the Senate seat he currently holds was won on a ticket that included the Democrats, Italy’s largest left-leaning party.

‘It’s not serious anymore’: No seventh-round winner as Italian lawmakers fail to elect president

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