Italian PM Hoping To Become President
The Italian parliament will convene on Jan. 24 to begin voting for a new head of state, the chief of the lower house of parliament ruled on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi has made clear he would like to become president, bringing to an end his 11-month old government and leaving the country with the choice of either installing a new premier or holding elections a year ahead of schedule.
However, there is no guarantee the 74-year-old former European Central Bank chief will get the job.
The first choice of Italy’s centre-right parties is the 85-year-old four-times prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Other figures considered to be contenders are former lower house speaker Pier Ferdinando Casini, former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato and the current Justice Minister Marta Cartabia.
The president, elected for a seven-year term, normally has a largely ceremonial role, but enjoys extensive powers following elections or when a government falls. He has the final say in nominating the prime minister and other cabinet members.
The election, conducted by secret ballot among more than 1,000 parliamentarians and regional representatives, is an unpredictable process often taking several days.
There are no official candidates, and each parliamentarian writes the name of their choice on a piece of paper. This can produce extravagant proposals of sports stars, actors or other public figures.