May 23, 2022

a first round for nothing in the battle for the Quirinal

It was therefore necessary for the vote to start for the discussions to really begin. Monday, January 24, in a hemicycle of Montecitorio (headquarters of the Italian Chamber of Deputies) three-quarters empty and at a breathtakingly slow pace, due to health protocol, 1,008 electors followed one another to slip into the ballot box their handwritten ballot, launching the competition for the election of President Sergio Mattarella’s successor to the presidency of the republic.

The first to come forward, in a wheelchair, is the senator and former charismatic leader of the Northern League, Umberto Bossi, weakened by several attacks. Then the senators for life moved forward, in a slow choreography, while outside the building the Sardinian deputy Ugo Cappellacci arrived by ambulance in the parking lot where a “drive-in” voting space had been installed for the twenty major voters positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Read also the editorial of “Le Monde”: Italy, Mario Draghi at the center of the game

Everyone knows that this is only a warm-up: for lack of agreement between the major parties, the bar of two-thirds of the votes is out of reach, as a result of which, in order not to “burn” any of the most serious candidacies, the staffs have advocated a blank vote.

Broadly speaking, the instructions were followed: with 672 blank ballots and 51 invalid ballots out of 976 voters, the result of this first round of consultation is to be forgotten. Perhaps history will remember that, during this first all for nothing, the person who obtained the most votes (36) was the former magistrate Paolo Maddalena, 85, who was put forward by antivax dissidents from the 5 Star Movement (antisystem). But this meager capital will not be more interesting, for the future, than the four votes obtained by the television journalist Bruno Vespa or the vote obtained by the former goalkeeper of the Squadra Azzurra, Dino Zoff.

Mario Draghi, object of all attention

Serious business will therefore begin later, when the positions of the main players become clearer. These are, for the time being, consulting each other. They have no choice but to agree, because even if, from the fourth round, the number of votes needed to be elected goes from two-thirds (672 votes) to an absolute majority (505), no coalition is unable to bring together a majority on its own.

The right-wing forces, which had displayed until Saturday January 22 a front unity behind the improbable candidacy of Silvio Berlusconi, assured that they would quickly appoint a replacement candidate. Nothing happened, and they now seem to have returned to their usual divisions.

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