Over 1,000 grand electors will choose Italy’s next President today.
Elected every seven years by the country’s parliament and regional delegates through multiple rounds of voting, the role of President is largely ceremonial. During political crises, however, the head of state may exercise substantive power—including dissolving the legislative chambers and giving mandates to form a government.
Polls indicate that Prime Minister Mario Draghi is the frontrunner, but his position is tenuous. With former PM Silvio Berlusconi out of the race, the billionaire media tycoon may announce his support for a leading right-wing party leader: either Georgia Meloni from the Brothers of Italy party or Matteo Salvini of the Northern League.
Berlusconi’s endorsement, if any, will be important but not decisive. More influential is the widespread desire for a return to normalcy in Italian politics. Italy has suffered from a host of upheavals under the presidency of incumbent Sergio Mattarella, including COVID-19 and its associated economic impact, right-wing populism, a migrant crisis and internal political turmoil. Expect the turbulence of Mattarella’s tenure and Draghi’s background as a centrist with a history of holding office during times of crisis to weigh favorably on his candidacy and likely see him victorious.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.