Dead | Former Italian president Giorgio Napolitano has died

Napolitano helped Italy overcome the debt crisis by appointing Mario Monti as prime minister in 2011.

Italian former president Giorgio Napolitano died on Friday at the age of 98, according to the news agency Reuters and the US newspaper, among others The New York Times.

Napolitano, who once belonged to the Italian Communist Party and was in the Italian Parliament for 38 years, was one of the most important figures in the country’s recovery from the debt crisis. He served as the country’s president from 2006 to 2015.

in Italy the office of president is mainly formal, but Napolitano used his influence by appointing former EU Commissioner Mario Monti as prime minister in 2011.

The prime minister who preceded Monti Silvio Berlusconi was divorced after the country’s parliament had approved major austerity measures amid the debt crisis.

Napolitano’s actions could have saved Italy from insolvency, Reuters reports.

Napolitano was involved in politics from the early 1950s. In his career, he served as a member of the European Parliament, Italian interior minister and speaker of the lower house of the parliament.

Reuters reports that Napolitano was also one of the few who found out about the Pope of Benedict XVI resigning before the official announcement in 2013.

When Napolitano’s first season was over in 2013, he had already cleared his desk. However, Italian politicians, including Berlusconi, begged him to continue, as the country’s divided parliament failed to elect a successor.

The 87-year-old Napolitano gave in to the wishes and him was chosen as the first president in the history of the country for a further term.

Midway through his second term in January 2015, he resigned from the post citing his age.

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Others such as the Pope Francis sent to Napolitano’s wife For Clio Bitton condolences on Friday.

“I vividly remember my personal meetings with him. In them, I appreciated his humanity and foresight to make important choices in a straightforward manner, especially during sensitive times in the country’s history,” Franciscus wrote, according to Reuters.

Napolitano and Pope Francis met in the Vatican in 2013.

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