February 2013: the general elections (legislative and senatorial) created a seemingly inextricable situation. The left holds the majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but not in the Senate. The populist 5 Star Movement has become the second largest party in the country. The right is rolled. The President of the Council Mario Monti, who wanted to play the apprentice politician by creating his party, is discredited. The only thing that stands out from this rubble is the figure of Giorgio Napolitano, but his mandate is about to expire and he has entered the phase where he no longer has the power to dissolve the assemblies to provoke new elections.
Attempts to create a government failed, as did those to find a successor to the President of the Republic. All the candidates are eliminated in turn on the altar of divisions and resentment. “I gave everything I had,” said Mr. Napolitano, who longs to leave the Quirinal. However, after five rounds of unsuccessful voting in Parliament, it is to him, once again, that elected officials who are incapable of managing the situation they have created turn. A delegation begs him to run for a second term. He accepts.
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For the first time in the history of Italy, a President of the Republic succeeds himself. But he sets his conditions: he will only serve half a term and demands that the reforms (modification of the voting method, end of bicameralism, reform of taxation and justice) be carried out as quickly as possible. “It’s my personal contribution,” he says. The last. On April 20, he was re-elected head of state by an absolute majority of 1,007 voters.
The cowardly relief of parliamentarians is palpable. And the precedent is created: in January 2022, while parliamentarians are once again in an inextricable situation, incapable as they are of agreeing on the successor of Sergio Mattarella, the scene will repeat itself, and the president, ordered to stay in office by all the political forces, will have to return to his apartments at the Quirinal, a few hours after having moved out.
“I am without illusions”
During his second inauguration speech, he called on parliamentarians to “pull themselves together” and show “responsibility”. “I have no illusions,” he said. But I will carry out my task until the situation of the country and the institutions suggest it to me, until my strength allows me to do so. »
December 2014. This time his decision is made. He throws in the towel. Did his sacrifice change things? We doubt it when we hear him state in his latest speeches “the destructive pathology” of anti-politics. We still doubt it when he mocks the “careerism” of his peers, condemns “buying favors”, vilifies “business dealing”, and regrets “bureaucratic routine”. Even Matteo Renzi, whom he appointed head of government in February 2014, could recognize himself in an allusion to “sellers of excessive hopes”. Bitter, surely, disillusioned, perhaps, the old man retires. He is 90 years old.