Giorgio Napolitano was the first incumbent President of the Republic to be re-elected to the Quirinale. At the end of each seven-year period, the idea of leaving the tenant on duty on the highest hill has always manifested itself; yet the 'encore' at the Quirinale had never succeeded to anyone. And the re-election has opened a new political path as evidenced by the current second mandate of Sergio Mattarella.
The Constitution does not prohibit the re-election of the President of the Republic. Yet no president had ever been re-elected. Probably due to the length of the mandate provided by the Charter for the Head of State: fourteen years with the same president were considered by the political forces as a long period, too long to be achievable. However, this does not change the fact that, starting from the first head of state Enrico De Nicola, almost all the presidents in the history of the Italian Republic have been infected, or at least touched by the virus of the seven-year period.
The option of reconfirmation has invariably been considered by the parties, especially in the face of the usual screwing of crossed vetoes that occurs close to the votes. It happened, for example, with Sandro Pertini's seven-year term. The supporters of the partisan president, relying on his popularity in public opinion, explicitly asked him to be re-elected. Just recently, a note from Pertini was found to his wife Carla Voltolina, in which the president reassured her that she would not stay for another long period at the Quirinale. Already seven years, Pertini wrote, are a "remarkable" period. And after recalling that no president had ever been reconfirmed, he concluded: "There is therefore no candidacy for the next seven years". Adding a 'postscript' signed ''Sandricco'', which shows how Pertini was a husband in love: ''I love you so much, Carla, also because you feel how I feel''.
Seven years later, in 1992, it was the turn of Francesco Cossiga, who had also resigned before the end of the mandate. This time, however, it was the pickaxing president who would have gladly done an encore. The political forces were largely opposed and the dislike of his Christian Democrat colleagues never made the project viable. ''If the house burns, I will also improvise firefighter'', said Cossiga, joking but not too much, in the days preceding the election of Scalfaro.
Unlike Cossiga, Scalfaro was never under any illusions. He knew well that he would never collect the votes of the House of Freedoms: Berlusconi, Fini and Casini would never forgive him for the failure to dissolve the Chambers at the end of the first Berlusconi government with the "reversal" that followed. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, in 2006, was instead probed by several parties for an encore at the Colle. But he resolved the matter with an official note. "None of the previous nine presidents of the Republic - wrote Ciampi - has been re-elected. I believe that this has become a significant custom. It is good not to break it. In my opinion, the renewal of a long mandate, such as the seven-year one, does not suit the characteristics of the republican form of our State". Yet Ciampi's encore was supported by Berlusconi's party, and his re-candidacy had also received the convinced yes of Romano Prodi's Union.
The pressure on Napolitano for a seven-year encore started from afar, and was always rejected by him. Even with an official note explaining that his candidacy was not "conceivable". But in the end, it was he who first broke the long habit. A similar situation led Sergio Mattarella again to the Quirinale, also almost forced by the difficulties of the parties to express a new name.
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