On January 4th, Italy will elect a brand new president. Unlike in France, the Italian president shouldn’t be elected by the individuals.

Instead, the president is elected by members of each homes of parliament and representatives of the Italian areas.

Being the Italian president is a largely ceremonial position, however the president intervenes each time there’s a political disaster, which is kind of widespread in Italy. It is essential that the president additionally act because the kingmaker for any new authorities.

Current President Sergio Mattarella’s seven-year time period ends in February and he has already acknowledged that he has no intention of working once more. This clears the sphere for a brand new president and a few fascinating names are marketed as candidates.

Most fascinating is the previous Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. At 85, Berlusconi’s superior age is being questioned by some, however he can simply seek advice from final yr’s US presidential election to show that age is not precisely the barrier it as soon as was.

Still, Berlusconi’s well being deteriorated in 2016 and he underwent open coronary heart surgical procedure. He has additionally had quite a few most cancers therapies and has been hospitalized a number of instances this yr alone.

Berlusconi, a multi-billion greenback media mogul, can be concerned in quite a few scandals. In 2013 he was convicted of tax fraud and banned from workplace for six years. Then there have been the notorious “bunga-bunga” events, the place younger ladies carried out striptease acts and different favors in change for cash-filled envelopes.

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Despite his well being issues and scandals, Berlusconi has seen a Lazarus-like political resurrection that culminated in his election as a member of the European Parliament in 2019.

Recently in Italy, Berlusconi has constructed a right-wing coalition between his personal celebration Forza Italia, Matteo Salvini’s Lega and Giorgia Melonis Brothers of Italy. The broad assist of those Eurosceptic events is crucial if he’s to win the presidency.

Berlusconi has assist for a presidential run from his personal celebration. His deputy, Antonio Tajani, who was President of the European Parliament from 2016 to 2019, mentioned Berlusconi was “an distinctive captain of trade, an excellent man of sport … and an excellent political chief”.

He additionally has the backing of at the least one in every of his coalition companions. Meloni, the chief of the Brothers of Italy, introduced: “We desire a patriot, Berlusconi displays what we’re in search of.” Salvini has not but publicly endorsed Berlusconi, however the two are set to fulfill to barter a deal.

However, Berlusconi must overcome just a few hurdles earlier than he can take the crown. The five-star motion, whose assist he would have hoped for, has made it clear that it’ll not assist Berlusconi’s future presidential candidacy.

The celebration’s president, Giuseppe Conte, acknowledged on Italian tv this week that “it might not be made official for him (Berlusconi) to run for president, but when he runs he is not going to have the motion’s votes . “

There are different sturdy candidates within the area, together with the present Prime Minister and former head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi. Like Berlusconi, Draghi has but to declare his candidacy however has signaled that he’s able to throw his hat within the ring.

Draghi at present leads a broad coalition authorities that was fashioned in February following Italy’s latest political disaster. Draghi’s authorities is supported by Berlusconi’s Lega celebration and the Five Star Movement. If Draghi allowed his title to step ahead, he could be the favourite to win the election.

The election of the president shouldn’t be solely an enormous concern for Italy; it may have an effect on the remainder of Europe. The undeniable fact that the president can step in in instances of disaster provides him / her immense energy.

For instance, Berlusconi was deposed as prime minister by the Italian president in 2011 when the Italian economic system seemed prefer it was falling off a cliff. With the subsequent political disaster in Rome inevitable (it all the time is), the brand new president may probably arrange a authorities of political allies.

In addition, as guardian of the Italian Constitution, the President is chargeable for the nation’s relations with Europe, together with compliance with EU treaties and legal guidelines. Brussels will subsequently be watching this election with eager eyes and can undoubtedly hope for a victory for Draghi.

In Italian politics one all the time has to reckon with the surprising, and that’s the reason the outdated villain Berlusconi can’t be dismissed out of hand. If he manages to win the presidency, it is going to be one of many greatest and weird political comebacks of all time.

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