Italy elects Sergio Mattarella as president in rate second-term victory

Italian lawmakers voted to re-elect President Sergio Mattarella to a rare second term, election officials said.

Sergio Mattarella

Chamber of Deputies Robert Fico on Saturday announced that Mattarella had received 759 out of a possible 1,009 votes from Italy’s “great electors” following an eighth ballot of voting.

“The difficult days in the election of Republic’s President amid the serious emergency we are all going through — in health, economic and social terms — call for a sense of responsibility and respect for the Parliament’s decision,” Mattarella wrote on Facebook following the results of the election.

Mattarella, 80, had previously ruled out returning to office after the end of his seven-year term on Feb. 3.

He becomes just the second Italian president to serve a second term since his predecessor, Giorgio Napolitano, who was re-elected but retired after two years.

Following six days of secret votes in which the members of parliament and regional representatives who elect the president without input from the public failed to produce a candidate, Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who was in the running for president himself, met with Mattarella to ask him to serve a second term.

Draghi on Saturday said the re-election of Mattarella was “fantastic news for Italians,” adding he was “grateful to the president for his choice to support the very strong will of Parliament to re-elect him for a second term.”

Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing League Party and a member of the government coalition, also backed Mattarella as his choice before the final ballot, calling for an end to the chaotic election process.

“Italians don’t deserve more days of confusion,” he said. “I have made numerous proposals, all of a high level, all rejected by the left.”

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the right-wing Brothers of Italy Party, was one of the lone voices of dissent for Mattarella’s re-election, saying he was “forced into another term.”