‘The defeat of the Republic’. Italian monarchists could but scorn the surprise outcome of the vote for a new president of the Republic this weekend.
The new president is Giorgio Napolitano, 87, who succeeds to himself as head of state, receiving a large majority of the vote of the electors. It is the first time since the establishment of the Republic that a president gets a second term.
Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoia, grandson of Italy’s last King Umberto II who was deposed after a referendum in 1946, commented wryly: we exchanged one monarchy for another. ‘Abbiamo tolto una monarchia per metterne un altra!’, he tweeted on Saturday as negotiations were going on.
Italy’s main political leaders begged Giorgio Napolitano [pictured with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands during a mini State Visit in October 2012] to stand as candidate after 5 earlier ballots had failed to give Italy a new president. ‘Italy needs you’, they said: l’Italia ha ancora bisogno di lei, un bisogno assoluto. The octogenarian, who was looking forward to a well deserved rest instead of another 7 year presidential term, finally gave in.
He will extend his stay in the Quirinale, the former royal (and papal) palace (pictured above). At least till the politically divided and economically challenged country has a new government. The stalemate not only extends to the election of a president, but also to forming a government after the inconclusive results of February’s parliamentary elections.
Prince Emanuele Filiberto kept his other comments factual. ‘Ecco è fatto Napolitano è il NUOVO Presidente della Repubblica...’ he tweeted after the vote. ‘It is done. Napolitano is the new president of the Republic.’ And: ‘As long as Italy has no responsible political leaders there is no need he vote’, he added. He also remarked that during the entire process no leader had kept his word, including President Napolitano.
© RoyalblogNL, Hans Jacobs; Photos by © RB, DPP Patrick van Katwij