At 19.45 pm, the President Emeritus of the Republic, Senator Giorgio Napolitano, died at the Salvator Mundi clinic on the Gianicolo in Rome.
He leaves us the man of reforms at all costs, Neapolitan of great class, elegant and "fussy", as he defined himself. Attentive to every detail, tireless worker, profound connoisseur of parliamentary life and the political dynamics of the entire republican history. Always discreetly accompanied by his wife Clio, Giorgio Napolitano began his first seven-year term at the Quirinale, in 2006, rejoicing at Italy's victory at the World Cup in Berlin and ended the almost two years of his second term with some regrets for not being able to see those institutional changes for which so much has been spent completed.
But above all, "King George" had to face what many consider the darkest period of the last 50 years, sailing on sight between the rocks of a harsh economic crisis. And he did so with an unshakable conviction: that Italy needed political stability. In the name of this principle, it has always tried to avoid early dissolution of the legislature. Certainly the worst moment - which combined personal bitterness and institutional concern - was his indirect involvement in the trial on the alleged State-Mafia negotiation with the exceptional deposition at the Court of Palermo climbed away to the Quirinale.
Napolitano's presidency was not easy, nor was it easy. But he has always kept the commitment made on May 15, 2006 when, as a new president, he solemnly promised before the Chambers that he would never be the head of state of the majority that had elected him, but that he would always look to the general interest of the country. And so it was, given that after climbing the highest hill of Italian politics with only the votes of the center-left, he closed the first seven years with the open support of the center-right.
A support that gradually cooled during the historic encore in 2013 at the Quirinale that saw Silvio Berlusconi condemned and often his to the political attack of the president. The 2006 election was by no means a foregone conclusion. His origin from the PCI made him look with suspicion by the Berlusconi center-right. But the fact of being the first communist leader to become president of the Republic did not prevent the Knight from reserving him, after a while, public praise. Until the request to let him stay at the Quirinale to overcome that turbulent political phase. A Parliament annihilated, after having burned in the secret of the ballot box calibers like Franco Marini and Romano Prodi gave him again the scepter of the Hill, flooding it with applause while Napolitano held in the hall of Montecitorio a harsh speech against an entire political class.
His psychological resilience and mediation skills have been unanimously recognized over the years. Even the League initially had to recognize his commitment to federalism, despite the fact that several times the head of state has rebuked the Carroccio on the theme of national unity. Leaving with regret the beloved house in the Monti district, he devoted great attention to international relations. In fact, the esteem he has enjoyed abroad has been undoubted: Washington, for example, has always considered him one of the most authoritative and reliable interlocutors.
A convinced European, Napolitano has always supported the indispensability of the European Union, gradually convincing himself that, as in Italy, only decisive reforms of the Eurobureaucracy could curb the detachment of citizens and cool the growing populism. Affable and courteous, always in measured tones, he found himself having to face a wall against wall only with Grillo and his movement, seen by the head of state, at least in its most extreme components, as the germ of anti-politics. One of the characteristic elements of his presidency was the attempt to speak to the whole of Italy, to quell the clash between the currents (starting with those of the Democratic Party), to promote dialogue between political forces in the interest of the country. Not an easy task during the turbulent years of his mandates. The first two of which he spends monitoring the fibrillations that keep the Prodi government constantly on a knife edge. Until the fall and return of the Knight to Palazzo Chigi.
The next three years run by in an effort to stem Berlusconi's activism, preventing the furious controversy over ad personam laws first and then sex scandals from undermining the firmness of the institutions. Trying not to make 'discounts' to the center-right, but preferring the weapon of 'moral suasion' to that, much more disruptive, of the referral of measures to the Chambers.
But the passage that will consign him to history as 'King Giorgio'' (as the New York Times crowned him) is the one that in November 2011 brings Mario Monti to Palazzo Chigi. Critics will speak of a presidential republic, of an extensive interpretation of its prerogatives. Supporters will see it as a decisive move to prevent the country, pushed to the brink by the sovereign debt crisis, from falling. Having avoided default, Italy is unable to dodge recession. The image of the president's 'technical' government is damaged. And with it also the political support to the tenant of the Hill. The fibrillations of the PDL lead to the resignation of Monti and to that 'rise in politics' of the professor that Napolitano, unnecessarily, advised against. The election results that did not give a clear majority, the crossed vetoes of the parties then pushed Napolitano to appoint Enrico Letta on the basis of a broad agreement. Then the irrepressible rise of Renzi with whom, despite the age difference, he was able to build a sincere and pragmatic relationship. Napolitano resigned on January 14, 2015. He then became a senator by right and for life as President Emeritus of the Republic.
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