Choosing a new Napolitano

President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy is stepping down because he’s old and frail, and now they have to pick a new one (probably in about two weeks). When he was reelected two years ago, Napolitano was already old and frail, but there was no-one else the joint houses of parliament could agree on. As the election rounds dragged on and a consensus could not be reached, he agreed to postpone retirement (he was 87!) and stand for reelection.
This time around, it might be a little easier to get a president elected. The premier, Matteo Renzi, has been in power for a while and has asserted his authority. He is reforming the economy, even though Italy is still hardly top of the class in Brussels. Renzi has to tread carefully, Italian society is very change averse. Ten or so years ago, I was stunned to see Italians enraged at the suggestion (by former premier Berlusconi) that the retirement age might be taken from age 60 to 62. A lot has changed since then.
But will they be able to elect a new president? Pressure on the Renzi government is high, particularly because of Greece. There, failure to choose a president has prompted elections that might bring anti-bailout parties to power. Everyone is hoping that electing a new president won’t be as difficult in Italy. And even though Italian politics are traditionally quite antagonistic, it’s likely that parties will try to find consensus.

Photographers Flickr Profile (CC)

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