03 December 2021
Sergio Mattarella will not be the obstacle between Mario Draghi and the Quirinale. It is the unsolicited reassurance that the head of state gave the prime minister in a recent interview. Words that help to understand what is happening between the highest hill and Palazzo Chigi, as well as the irritation felt by the president of the republic every time the parliamentarians (starting with many former Christian Democrats of “his” Pd) pull his jacket to convince him to accept a second term. The official motivations of those who push for the “encore” are very noble, of course: the Italians need this government to continue its work; there is a risk of a resurgence of the epidemic caused by the new variants; if the snipers bury Draghi it is as if the executive were disheartened; it would be better for the next parliament, reduced to 600 members, to elect the head of state, and not the current one. And so on.
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None of these arguments are nonsense. Behind, however, they all hide low-level calculations. Mattarella is expected to remain as president in the short term, a year or at most two, to cut off Draghi and prevent the legislature from ending prematurely. And on the fact that a possible “Mattarella bis” would be short-lived, there seem to be no doubts, since he himself has already made it known that the nine years foreseen by the Constitution for the mandate of the judges of the Council are the maximum that our institutions can bear. Mattarella must be nailed to that French desk that belonged to Umberto I, therefore. Because the natural alternative is Draghi, whose move would risk provoking those early elections that nobody wants today, except Giorgia Meloni. That Draghi who could resign (and this is what some of his people say, at Palazzo Chigi) even if he were not elected and another would take his place.
Problems that would dissolve if, at the right time, Mattarella agreed to freeze the current situation. Which, incidentally, would allow aspirants to the succession who today seem to have no chance, like Dario Franceschini, to play a very different game, when Mattarella really leaves the Colle.
As for his fear that Italy will become a “de facto monarchy”, in which the heads of state usually succeed themselves, should vanish with the constitutional bill filed yesterday, coincidentally by three senators of the Democratic Party: Luigi Zanda, Dario Parrini and Gianclaudio Bressa. It provides that the President of the Republic can be elected only once and cancels the “blank semester”, the period in which he cannot dissolve the Houses, coinciding with the end of the mandate. Well that goes, it will take many months to approve it. Mattarella, thus, would be the second and the last. In short, a circle that closes. Almost. Because to stand in the way of the encore and the perpetuation of the current situation until the natural end of the legislature, which will fall in March 2023, there is the will of the two concerned. Mattarella hinted that his new assignment, following the double mandate of Giorgio Napolitano, would create a wrong institutional practice. On the merits, the constitutional reform to prevent the re-eligibility of the president of the republic finds him completely in agreement, he himself has supported it: however, nothing guarantees that it will be approved.
And then, in addition to the fatigue accumulated over seven very long years and publicly declared (“I’m old, in a few months I will be able to rest …”), the memory of what happened in Napolitano, which was re-elected by the parties that had begged him to stay, weighs heavily. and therefore with poorly concealed annoyance endured by the same, during the second term. As for Draghi, his interest in the position is real. He knows well that, for him, it is probably “now or never”: the next parliament will be very different from this one and who knows what majority and what addresses it will have. The former central banker has already identified in the current Minister of Economy, Daniele Franco, his ideal successor, who obviously in Palazzo Chigi could count on the tutelary deity who follows him from the Hill. A relay that, according to Repubblica, Luigi Di Maio would have already anticipated some diplomats, during a recent international summit. Mattarella has great esteem for Draghi and believes – rightly – that having called him to the bedside of sick Italy was the best choice. Even if he will never say it in public, it is evident that he sees in him the qualities necessary for a head of state, including the credibility to best represent a indebted country like ours on the international scene.
He does not intend to speak out in the choices of the 1,009 “great electors” who in a month and a half will gather in the Chamber of Deputies to choose his successor, but the president of the republic is obviously sovereign of his choices. And his interest and that of Draghi coincide. So, when he told him “I won’t be the problem”, Mattarella not only gave the prime minister that assurance that could make a difference, but he also did himself a favor. Because he doesn’t like the idea of being used, all the more so to stop Draghi.