After weeks of political angst and turmoil within the parties, Sergio Mattarella – longstanding politician coming from the left wing of Democrazia Cristiana (DC) and judge of the Constitutional Court since 2011 – was chosen to be the new President of the Republic.
After the unanimous approval of the national leadership Assembly of PD, the name of Sergio Mattarella was welcomed with esteem by other parties around the center-left (Scelta Civica, other groups of the center and even Sinistra e Libertà). Eventually, Nuovocentrodestra (NCD) itself put forward his very name, though at the very last minute and not without internal discontent.
The candidate was not elected before the forth ballot when 505 votes would be enough. Anyhow, he ended up earning as many as 665, almost two thirds of the Assembly.
Undoubtedly is Mattarella’s election a victory for Prime Minister Renzi: he managed to reunite his own party in a candidate from the democratic wing, still deemed to be autonomous from the political line of the current party Secretariat. Mattarella is an eminent politician whose career however, was not under the spotlight. His political track is especially marked by his privacy and moral scrupulousness. The name of Mattarella is definitely able to reassure the internal minority of PD and bring the party back together for this crucial step, especially in the light of the disagreements for the approval of Italicum at the Senate, that almost resulted in a mass split within PD.
On the contrary, the center-right in general and more specifically Forza Italia were caught totally unprepared by Renzi’s proposal. After the agreement on the electoral Law and reforms, Berlusconi hoped to play a more active role in the choice of the Head of State.
Still, Prime Minister Renzi confounded all expectations deciding not to put forward a number of possible candidates to his interlocutors whilst, instead, he essentially imposed one single name for the centerright to assess within a few hours. Both NCD and Forza Italia split on this very decision: whilst NCD chose to agree on Mattarella (though unleashing an internal fight bound to bear heavy consequences), Forza Italia opted for a blank ballot – however, at least 40 ballots were in disagreement with the party decision.
Nevertheless, it must be said that the situation could have turned worse for the center-right: Mattarella is a moderate and previous member of Democrazia Cristiana: the exact profile requested by Alfano. Plus, despite not having a good relationship with Berlusconi, he is definitely not antiBerlusconi tout court as, for instance, Romano Prodi would have been. Therefore, it can be inferred that Prime Minister Renzi on this occasion prioritized the urgent need to reunite his party as it had reached serious levels of friction.
In any case and at least on the basis of the statements unanimously released by Renzi’s closest staff members over the past hours, the alliance with FI is priority in the path towards the electoral and constitutional reforms.