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At age 80, Sergio Mattarella re-elected as Italy’s president


Italian-American Herald

Italian head of state Sergio Mattarella was re-elected for a second term on Jan. 29, with party chiefs asking him to carry on after a week of back-and-forth wrangling by Italian parliamentarians.

Members of parliament thanked 80-year-old Mattarella for agreeing to remain, but the failed attempts to replace him during seven rounds of balloting have left deep scars, with potentially dangerous repercussions for political stability.

At the eighth round among more than 1,000 lawmakers and regional delegates
in the Chamber of Deputies, loud and prolonged applause broke out when Mattarella passed the 505 votes needed for election.

Mattarella had ruled out remaining in office, but with the country’s political stability at risk, he changed his mind in the face of appeals from parliamentary leaders who met him at Palazzo Chigi.

In Italy’s political system, the president is a powerful figure who gets to appoint prime ministers and is often called on to resolve political crises. Governments in the euro zone’s third-largest economy survive around a year on average.

The leader of the center-left Democratic Party (PD) Enrico Letta, who had championed Mattarella’s re-election, spoke to reporters to express his “enormous thanks … for his generous choice towards the country.”

According to sources, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi earlier called Mattarella and urged him to stay on.

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