Come on, stay. Pippo Baudo and Confindustria, Olympic gold medals and party secretaries, the politicians he receives and the people he meets: everyone asks him, the last one yesterday in Conversano was Michele Emiliano, and Sergio Mattarella has now stopped responding. Supplications, appeals. Prayers. Even Merkel will ask him in mid-October, when he goes to Berlin for the “farewell visit”. And Mario Draghi, between the serious and the facetious, threw it there on Thursday evening at dinner at the Quirinale. More or less like this: if you stay, I’ll stay too. A joke? A scenario that opens up? Maybe. The head of state, they say, just smiled.
A business lunch like many others, like every week. An opportunity not to register to take stock of Covid, the recovery and the autumn acceleration that the premier wants to give to the reforms. But the institutional risk, the great intertwining of presidencies is not a topic that can remain out of a conversation of this kind, albeit an informal one. Draghi, as we know, wants to complete “the mission”, to secure the country from a health and economic point of view, to ensure that the European billions are used to modernize Italy. But in January Mattarella’s mandate expires and Toto Colle is already crazy. Among the many hypotheses and pressures, one foresees the move of SuperMario, which however should leave the job halfway. Not to mention his real intentions. Hence the “if you stay, I’ll stay too”, that is a double confirmation until the 2023 political elections, makes sense. Then you will understand what Draghi will want to do when he grows up, between the Colle and Palazzo Chigi.
There is only one problem, not a small one: Sergio Mattarella has said several times that he is not available for a second job. First, because the head of state is culturally and politically opposed to continuing his mandate, and has explained this in public on several occasions. “Italy is a republic and not a kingdom”. The precedent of Giorgio Napolitano, held at the Quirinale by parties unable to find a successor, closes the road even more: if an exception is repeated after a few years, this is his thought, it becomes a rule. In fact, the ceremonial of the Hill has already started the farewell visits: the Pope, Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Brussels.
The second reason, not mentioned, is procedural: a possible encore is not available to Mattarella. The President of the Republic does not propose and does not stand as a candidate. But it is chosen and voted on by a thousand great electors, deputies, senators and representatives of the Regions, on the basis of a political agreement. So, you have to wait. If no other profiles emerge, if the parties take office, if certain conditions will mature, if they invoke it, then we will see if the outgoing head of state will change his mind and, out of a sense of responsibility, will accept to stay for extra time.
In the meantime, however, he does not even want to hear about the subject: the last thing he wants is to end up “in the meat grinder.” This does not prevent him from a form of pushed, almost ostentatious presentialism, as if to remind him that he is the head of state in office until the last minute. Travel, meetings, speeches, full agenda. On Friday, for example, he received a delegation from the Italian and European Episcopal Conferences, outlining a kind of government program. “After the pandemic and the crisis, we are called to rebuild solidarity societies and overcome economic and environmental imbalances”. And yesterday in Puglia he commemorated Giuseppe Di Vagno, a socialist parliamentarian killed a hundred years ago by the fascists. “I wanted to be there to testify that the state exists.” And there is also Mattarella, it seems.