The news Saturday that Italy was likely to re-elect President Sergio Mattarella, 80, to another seven-year term was a sign of relief to official Washington.
Mattarella has an excellent relationship with President Biden, who is 79. More importantly, U.S. officials — well aware that the long-rumored election of Premier Mario Draghi as president would likely lead to a new election and new government — are reportedly happy with the status quo.
As the situation between Russia and Ukraine intensify, both the Biden administration and the U.S. feel comfortable with EU member nations maintaining their current governments rather than bringing in new and little-known leaders.
After 6 days of inconclusive results, the Italian electoral college — which has 1,009 members, including members of Parliament as well as provincial and local officials — was reportedly poised to give a reluctant Mattarella a second term.
Efforts to elect a woman president, with candidates including the president of the Senate, Elisabetta Casellati (who was favored by the right-of-center League and its leader Matteo Salvini), fell far short on Friday.
Draghi, reportedly wants the presidency, was never actually proposed as a candidate. This is in large part due to the fact that Italian business favors keeping the former European Central Bank president as premier and not risking any tumult in the markets.
While far from the strong presidency of the U.S. and France, the Italian president can dissolve Parliament, ask someone to form a new government as prime minister, and work as a mediator between the nation’s often-squabbling political parties.
Mario Gualco, president of Italy’s National Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium Enterprises, told Newsmax that Italians in general are not focused on the presidential election.
“What occupies Italians’ time is thinking about how to respond to the continuous increases in the cost of electricity and gas, which in two months have increased by about 200%!,” said Gualco. His organization represents 621,000 associates employing over 1.2 million people.
He added that “this obviously worries everyone, families and businesses, who find it increasingly difficult to continue working with energy costs that have increased dramatically. If we want to add to this the health situation, where I would say that recent governments have sailed and continue to sail by sight, without a vision of the future, with complicated, ineffective,and always changing measures.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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