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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 16 gennaio 2013 alle ore 06:36.

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The election of the Head of State, presidente della Repubblica, has become part of the debate within the 2013 political election campaign. Silvio Berlusconi, leader of Popolo della Libertà (Pdl), stated that he had a candidate in mind as the new Head of State (which should be elected in April): «A name that I am certain is highly respected by the left» he stated without revealing the name.

Yesterday, when asked if he would vote for Mario Draghi, the president of the ECB, Berlusconi answered: «Absolutely yes. If a majority proposed his name, I would vote for him». This seems like a sign of attention rather than an actual candidacy. In any case a spokesman of the ECB explained that Mario Draghi intends to finish his term which lasts until October 31, 2019.

The term of the Head of State lasts seven years: Giorgio Napolitano has been in office since 2006; his appointment will end on next May 14. The election of the new Italian Head of State is scheduled for April, therefore after the political elections. This means that the new Parliament - which will be elected on February 24 and 25 - will name Napolitano's successor. All the members of Parliament with the representatives of the Regions (about 1,000 voters) elect the Head of State with a secret ballot. The person who obtains two thirds of the votes is elected, after the third voting with no results, half of the votes plus one become sufficient.

It is always difficult to make any predictions on who will be made Head of State. In this case it is even more complicated because the choice will fall on a Parliament that still has not been elected. Even if a second office is possible, Napolitano, 87 years old, has already made it known that he wishes to retire from the political scene. Mario Monti stated that this appointment does not interest him: «It would be nice but not very relevant for the destiny of Italy», he said on Monday. In reality he remains a potential candidate, also in relation to the possible post-electoral government agreement with the coalition led by Pierluigi Bersani, who today is leading the polls.

Among the names considered in the race for the Head of State there are two former Prime Ministers, Romano Prodi (73 years old), former leader of the Democratic party, and Giuliano Amato (74 years old), twice Prime Minister and many times a Minister. Some have also considered the possibility of Franco Marini, former trade union leader and former speaker of the Senate, coming from a popular Catholic area. In the history of the Italian Republic there have been eleven Heads of State: all men. In the past Emma Bonino, member of the Radical Party, and a major figure in important civil battles, has been indicated as a possible candidate. The Democratic Party has two women who could be considered for the office: Rosy Bindi e Anna Finocchiaro.

These are just rumours. The election of the Head of State is a complicated passage within Italian politics which is often compared to the Conclave, the election of the Pope by the cardinals. And as for the Vatican, even for the Quirinale (the building where the Head of State lives) the saying is: «The person who enters the Conclave as Pope, comes out as a cardinal» which means that the person favored on the eve of the elections is almost never elected. This is why it is best to not make any predictions.

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