ItalyElection of the President ofthe RepublicRules, procedure and an analysis of the(typically) political match of 2013 Head ofState electionApril 2013
2013 election of the President of the RepublicSaturday 20 April. Giorgio Napolitano was re-elected asPresident of the Italian Republic in the sixth round.On the average, from the birth of the Republic, ten rounds werenecessary to elect the Head of State.Giorgio Napolitano is the first President in the history of theItalian Republic to be re-elected for a second term.Any Italian citizen who is fifty or older and enjoys civil andpolitical rights can be elected President.
The 1.007 electorsThe President is elected by the Parliament in joint session.Who is entitled to vote?• 630 Chamber of Deputies (Lower House) members;• 319 Senators (315 elected + 4 senators for life);• 58 regional representatives appointed by the Regional Councils(three for each Region, except for Valle d’Aosta which hasonly one). The procedure provides that one of the threerepresentatives is the President of the Region while theremaining 2 are chosen from the majority and from theopposition respectively. The choice is up to political groupswithin the Regional Council.
StepsIn the first three rounds a two-third majority of the electors isrequired (672/1007).Starting from the fourth round the absolute majority is needed(504/1007).2013 first round was held on 18 April and it ended up with noresult.
The procedureThe election must be held by a secret ballot: a key element tounderstand the lack of discipline within parliamentary groups.There are neither official candidacies, nor formal debate on possiblecandidates: the election of the President is a “Conclave”, where theelectors go for consecutive votings. Negotiations are carried outunofficially, between a round and the other.
The balance of political forces in 2013 ParliamentThe seatsCentre-leftFive Star MovementMonti’s groupOthersCentre-right
First Scenario. “The broad agreement”> Formula. The two major parties (PD and PdL) agree on anauthoritative candidate representing the national unity. In thiscase case, the President is elected in one of the first rounds.> Historical precedent. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, elected in the firstround on 13 May 1999. The so called "Ulivo coalition" (centre-left)is ruling the Country, but opposition parties agree on Ciampi’scandidacy as well.> 2013 favourite candidate. Franco Marini, as a result of theagreement between Bersani and Berlusconi. This choice tearsapart the PD group whose members do not follow Secretaryindications: in the first round Marini gets only 521 votes out ofthe 672 required. The parties decide non to insist on Marini’scandidacy.
Second Scenario “The breaking point”> Formula. The major political forces do not reach an agreement.The majority coalition elects its candidate (unilaterally) startingfrom the fourth round.> Historical precedent. Giorgio Napolitano, elected on 10 May2006 in the first round gaining only the centre-left coalitionvotes. The initial candidacy of Massimo D’Alema had not beensupported by centre-right opposition.> 2013 favourite candidate. Romano Prodi. In an attempt tobring the centre-left back together, Bersani proposes former EUCommission President right before the beginning of the fourthround. PD group approves unanimously, but voting secretly thesupporters of Marini (and of the deal with PdL) take theirrevenge: Prodi stops at 395 votes (out of the 504 required).Prodi withdraw his candidacy and Bersani announces hisresignation.
Third scenario “The outsider”> Formula. As the bi-partisan deal failed and the majority coalitionwas not able to single out a strong political candidacy,compromise solutions come out. The election may occur aftermany rounds.> Historical precedent. Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, elected on 25 May1992, at the sixteenth round. His election took place in a verydifficult political and institutional situation (Tangentopoli scandal,Capaci massacre) when initial candidacies couldn’t be followedanymore. As a last resort option the Parliament chose thePresident of the Chamber of Deputies in office.> 2013 favourite candidate. Emma Bonino, long time politician,without a party support; Massimo D’Alema, left-wing, able toattract right-wing votes; Pietro Grasso, the institutionalcandidate; Stefano Rodotà, jurist with a left-wing past, supportedby the Five Star Movement (5SM) of comedian Beppe Grillo.
An institutional habit unexpectedly brokenAfter PD split, parties give up to the political-institutionalstalemate and "invoked" for Napolitano who agreed to stand for re-election and called on divided political parties to act responsibly (thatis a broad coalition government – PD-PdL-Monti’s party).Saturday 20 April 2013: Napolitano obtained, in the sixth round,738 votes becoming the first President of the Republic being electedfor a second term. Rodotà, invoked by Grillo, got 217 votes,obtaining ten votes more than the total of SEL and 5SM electors.He was sworn-in on 22 April 2013 before the Parliament in jointsession.