The former prime minister argues that the decision is “a gesture of national responsibility”
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi resigned this Saturday his resignation to be a candidate for the next elections to elect the president of Italy in a “gesture of national responsibility.”
“I have decided to take another step on the path of national responsibility and I have asked those who have proposed it to stop supporting my name for the Presidency of the Republic” despite the fact that “there were sufficient numbers for the election”, something that “ I am honored and moved,” Berlusconi explained in a statement. Berlusconi was scheduled to participate in a virtual meeting held this Saturday to specify the center-right candidate, but instead one of his faithful, Licia Ronzulli, connected, who read the statement in which he explains that he has decided to take “a step behind”.
Berlusconi’s party, Forza Italia, will thus join the proposal agreed by the other parties, “someone who is up to the situation”, although he ruled out the prime minister of the concentration government, Mario Draghi, who “must stay in the Chigi Palace” and “finish the job.” «I have verified the existence of sufficient numbers to go to the electoral college, but after a long reflection with ‘my family’ and the directors of Forza Italia about my candidacy, I have decided to make a gesture of ‘national responsibility’ and withdraw from the race to the Quirinal”, he pointed out. Berlusconi clarified that he will continue to “serve” his country “as a political leader and as an MEP.”
Following the announcement, the leader of the far-right Liga party, Matteo Salvini, praised this “decisive and fundamental” choice, as well as “generous”. “Berlusconi does a great service to Italy and to the center-right, which will now have the honor and responsibility to advance without vetoes on its proposals,” he said.
According to the latest calculations, Berlusconi had 453 of the 1,009 members – including deputies, senators and regional representatives – who will decide who succeeds Sergio Mattarella in the Presidency as of February. The center-left would have 407 supports, according to the count published on Friday by the Rai chain. These numbers are not enough neither in the first three rounds, when a two-thirds majority (673) is needed, nor in the fourth, when the threshold drops to an absolute majority (505).
This vote has caused a crisis in the concentration government led by Mario Draghi, one of the possible candidates to occupy the Quirinal Palace, along with the current head of state, Sergio Mattarella, who has already declared his intention to leave office.