Showing posts with label President. Show all posts
Showing posts with label President. Show all posts

23 July 2017

Sergio Mattarella – President of Italy

Anti-Mafia former Christian Democrat is Italy's 12th President

Sergio Mattarella, the 12th President of the Italian Republic
Sergio Mattarella, the 12th President of
the Italian Republic
The first Sicilian to become President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, was born on this day in 1941 in Palermo.

Mattarella went into politics after the assassination of his brother, Piersanti, by the Mafia in 1980. His brother had been killed while holding the position of President of the Regional Government of Sicily.

Their father, Bernardo Mattarella, was an anti-Fascist, who with other prominent Catholic politicians helped found the Christian Democrat (Democrazia Cristiana) party. They dominated the Italian political scene for almost 50 years, with Bernardo serving as a minister several times. Piersanti Mattarella was also a Christian Democrat politician.

Sergio Mattarella graduated in Law from the Sapienza University of Rome and  a few years later started teaching parliamentary procedure at the University of Palermo.

His parliamentary career began in 1983 when he was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies in a left-leaning faction of the DC that had supported an agreement with the Italian Communist Party led by Enrico Berlinguer. The following year he was entrusted with cleansing the Sicilian faction of the party from Mafia control by DC Secretary Ciriaco De Mita.

Mattarella's brother, Piersanti, was
killed by the Mafia
In 1985 Mattarella helped a young lawyer, Leoluc Orlando, who had worked alongside his brother, Piersanti, to become Mayor of Palermo.

Mattarella was appointed Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and subsequently Minister of Education.

He stood down from his post, along with other ministers, in 1990 when parliament passed an act liberalising the media sector in Italy, which he saw as a favour to media magnate Silvio Berlusconi.

Mattarella  became director of the Christian Democrat newspaper, Il Popolo, and in 1994 when DC was dissolved following Tangentopoli, he helped form the Italian People’s party.

Mattarella was one of the first supporters of the economist, Romano Prodi, at the head of the centre left coalition known as The Olive Tree.

Two years later he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence in the Government of Massimo D’Alema, the leader of the Democrats of the Left.

Mattarella with his predecessor Giorgio Napoletano
Mattarella with his predecessor Giorgio Napoletano
In 2007 Mattarella was one of the founders of the Democratic Party, a merger of left-wing and centre parties

He was elected to be a Judge of the Constitutional Court in 2011 and served for nearly four years.

His wife, Marisa Chiazzese, the mother of his three children, died in 2012.

Mattarella was elected President of the Italian Republic in 2015, replacing Giorgio Napoletano who had served for nine years.

In December 2016 the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi announced his resignation following the rejection of his proposals in the 2016 Italian constitutional referendum and Matterella appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paolo Gentiloni, to be the new head of Government.

The Church of San Cataldo in Palermo with its spherical red domes
The Church of San Cataldo in Palermo with its
spherical red domes
Travel tip:

Palermo, where Mattarella was born and where he taught at the University, is the capital of Sicily, on the northern coast of the island, with a wealth of beautiful architecture, revealing both northern European and Arabian influences. The Church of San Cataldo in Piazza Bellini has a bell tower typical of those in northern France and three spherical, red domes on the roof of Arabic style.

The Courtyard at the Palazzo Quirinale in Rome
The Courtyard at the Palazzo Quirinale in Rome
Travel tip:

President Sergio Mattarella lives in Palazzo Quirinale in Rome at one end of Piazza del Quirinale. This was the summer palace of the popes until 1870 when it became the palace of the Kings of the newly unified Italy. Following the abdication of the last King, it became the official residence of the President of the Republic in 1947.

9 September 2016

Oscar Luigi Scalfaro – President of Italy

Devout lawyer served the Republic all his life

Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, who was the ninth President of the Italian Republic
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, who was the ninth
President of the Italian Republic
The ninth President of the Italian Republic, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, was born on this day in 1918 in Novara.

After studying law and entering the magistrature he became a public prosecutor and is the last Italian attorney to have obtained a death sentence.

In 1945 he prosecuted the former Novara prefect Enrico Vezzalini and five servicemen, who were accused of collaborating with the Germans. All six were condemned to death and the sentence was carried out a few months later.

Subsequently Scalfaro obtained another death sentence, but the accused was pardoned before the execution could take place.

Scalfaro was brought up to be a devout Catholic and studied law at Milan’s Università Cattolica.

Before the war ended he lost his wife, Maria Inzitari, who died a few weeks after giving birth to their daughter. He never remarried.

In 1948, as a member of Democrazia Cristiana, Scalfaro became a deputy representing Turin and was to keep the seat for more than 40 years, during which he held a number of leadership positions within the Christian Democrat party and in the Chamber of Deputies.

The cloister at the Università Cattolica in Milan, the largest private university in Europe
The cloister at the Università Cattolica in Milan, the
largest private university in Europe
At various times Scalfaro was the minister in charge of transport, civil aviation, education and the interior and, in 1987, he tried unsuccessfully to form a Government himself.

He was elected President of the Republic in 1992 and served till 1999. He then became a Senator for life.

He campaigned for the ‘No’ side in the 2006 referendum on constitutional reform and also served briefly as President of the Senate, despite by then being in his late eighties.

Scalfaro died in Rome in 2012 at the age of 93.

The 121m cupola of the Basilica of San Gaudenzio dominates the Novara skyline
The 121m cupola of the Basilica of San
Gaudenzio dominates the Novara skyline
Travel tip:

Novara, where Oscar Luigi Scalfaro was born, is in the Piedmont region to the west of Milan. In the historic centre you can still see part of the ancient Roman walls. The most imposing monument, which has become the symbol of Novara, is the Basilica of San Gaudenzio with its 121-metre high cupola designed by Alessandro Antonelli.

Travel tip:

The seat of the Italian Senate is Palazzo Madama in Rome, which was built on top of the ancient baths of Nero close to Piazza Navona at the end of the 15th century for the Medici family. The Palazzo takes its name from Madama Margherita of Austria, the illegitimate daughter of the Emperor Charles V, who married Alessandro dè Medici. In 1871 after the conquest of Rome by Victor Emmanuel’s troops, Palazzo Madama became the seat of the Senate of the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy.

More reading:

How Moro tragedy blighted career of President Cossiga

(Photo of Universita Cattolica by Scruch CC BY-SA 3.0)
(Photo of Novara cupola by Guido06 CC BY-SA 3.0)


9 December 2015

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi - prime minister and president

The politician who took Italy into the euro

The politician and banker, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, was born on this day in 1920 in Livorno.
Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
Photo: Presidency of the Italian Republic

He was the 49th Prime Minister of Italy between 1993 and 1994 and the tenth president, in office from 1999 to 2006.

Ciampi studied ancient Greek literature in Pisa, before being called up to do military duty, but in 1943 he refused to stay with the Fascists and took refuge in Abruzzo.

He managed to get to Bari, where he joined the Italian resistance movement.

After the war, he gained a doctorate in law from Pisa University and began working at the Banca d’Italia. He went on to become Governor of the bank and then President of the National Bureau de Change.

Ciampi was the first-non parliamentarian prime minister of Italy for more than 100 years, appointed by the President, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, to oversee a technical government.

Later, as the treasury minister under Romano Prodi and Massimo d’Alema, Ciampi, a staunch supporter of the EU, adopted the euro currency for Italy.

When he was elected president, he had a broad majority and was only the second president ever to be elected at the first ballot. He was held in high regard by all the political groups in parliament.
Rome's Palazzo Quirinale, official residence of
the Italian President

He was succeeded by Giorgio Napoletano and is currently a senator for life in the Italian senate.

Travel tip:

Livorno is a port on the western coast of Tuscany, which deals with thousands of cruise ship passengers. The city used to be known as Leghorn in English and there is an English cemetery in Via Giuseppe Verdi, with the graves of many former British residents, including the novelist. Tobias Smollett.

Travel tip:

Abruzzo is a region on the Adriatic coast, bordered by Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and Molise to the south. One third of its territory is made up of national parks and nature reserves that are home to protected species, such as the brown bear.