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What is the Quirinale?
The Quirinale palace in Rome is the seat of Italy’s president, and the name is often used to refer to the presidency in general.
What does Italy’s president do?
It is largely a ceremonial role, involving signing laws and presiding over the judiciary’s independence. But in times of crisis — which abound in Italy — the president has sweeping powers. He or she can dissolve the legislative chambers, give mandates to form a government, and appoint technical cabinets.
How is Italy’s president elected?
The president is elected every seven years by a joint session of parliament plus “great electors,” or regional delegates. This time 1,009 electors will case their vote: 951 senators and MPs, along with 58 regional delegates. Any name needs a two-thirds majority (673/1,009) in the first three rounds of voting, after which a simple majority (505/1,009) is sufficient. Ballots are secret.
When is the election held?
The voting will begin on Monday, January 24, at 3 p.m. The aim is to conclude the election before February 3, when the mandate of the incumbent Sergio Mattarella expires. If more rounds prove necessary, he would stay on in the interim.
Will coronavirus affect the vote?
Voting will be carried out in rounds of 50 to avoid overcrowding the chamber. By law, people who test positive for COVID-19 won’t be able to vote. There are currently 29 MPs and six to eight senators in this condition, according to parliament speaker Roberto Fico, but there could be more by the time the election starts. That could impact the outcome of the vote.
MPs who aren’t vaccinated will be able to vote following a negative swab. But a legal requirement to show proof of vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus to board a plane or ship is proving problematic for electors who aren’t vaccinated. There are five such electors who would need to travel from Sardinia or Sicily and who may not be able to vote.