President Mattarella and the end of the Second Republic

mattarella presidentThe President of the Italian Republic is the balance of the Italian political system. More than a neutral institutional referee respecting the Constitution, he has the power to act as the campion of the stabilisation forces of the fragile Italian institutional political balance. Some Presidents used those powers heavily, other not. 

In times of crisis this role is strategic. The President became the pillar of the system. In the last years some underlined this feature ironically naming the former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, king Giorgio.

The Italian population is still coping with the effects of the economic stagnation, poor politics and thenever ending scandals of corruptions and public looting. Thus the election of Sergio Mattarella as the 12th President of the Italian Republic was so relevant.

On a general note, this election showed the failure of the Italian Second Republic. After a generation, it is still necessary to go back to the old élite of political leaders of the First Republic to find a good eligible President. 

The formation of a new political élite, if not statesmanship has been completely dismissed. There was a tradition in the Italian political system to form the list of the candidates for the Presidency among the former Presidents of the Senate and the Camera (the lower house). For this elections none of the politicians that have played that role in the Second Republic has been considered, except Mr Casini. Indeed, many of them have disappeared by the political system or they don’t have the institutional political stature to cover that role.

The new Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, was a member of the aristocracy of the Italian First Republic. In the First Republic he was a distinguished member of the majority party Democrazia Cristiana, like his father before him and his unfortunate brother, murdered by the Italian Mafia. He then transmigrate with success in the Second Republic, playing as minister in different governments, deputy Prime Minister and finally member of the Constitutional Court.

Beside a new confirmation of the Paretian’s law of the persistence of aggregate, this choice of Mr Renzi to reengage with the old Italian politics of the first Republic will be useful for the stability of the Italian political system?

For now, Renzi is the political winner of this election. He has played as the Macchiavelli’s prince, being golpe and lione (wolf and lion) at the same time.

The Italian prime minister has achieved a masterpiece of strategic political victory. He succeeded in electing his candidate, Sergio Mattarella, compacting his party, deeply divided in the last weeks, and playing easily the head of the minority party, Mr Silvio Berlusconi.

Many deemed that the humiliation was so painful for Berlusconi that he could easily decide to end the collaboration with the government for passing the agreed reforms of the Nazareno pact.

Renzi himself could have in mind the ending of the legislature. He is keen to to win the next general elections with a large majority in parliament and a more compact Partito Democratico without the internal minority of the old establishment slowing his governmental action. The following weeks will be decisive.

Domenico Fracchiolla

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