by Daniele Scalea

Many of us believed that a "miracle" was possible: to bring a member of the Right to the Quirinal. This has never happened in the history of the Republic, unless we want to include in the list those belonging to the right wing of Christian Democracy (Segni, Cossiga and Scalfaro: the latter, moreover, who dedicated his seven-year term to fighting against the Center-Right, while the former resigned after a couple of years for health reasons).

We believed in the "miracle", it was said, because the Center-Right was starting with a relative majority of delegates (452 voters against the Center-Left's 413), and in a very fragmented assembly, with a large number of free voters and potential "insubordinate" voters, also because of the cut in the number of parliamentarians that condemned many not to be re-elected. Unfortunately, it was overlooked that the same factors of "disorder" also operated within the Center-Right. As demonstrated by the evidence of the facts, Forza Italia and above all Coraggio Italia did not guarantee a unanimous and loyal adhesion to the common cause.

Thus, two weaknesses clashed in the assembly. That of the Center-Right was first revealed by the abandonment of Silvio Berlusconi's candidacy, which had held sway until close to the vote, and then by the use of blank ballots and abstentions. Almost a strategy of fleet in being, wanting to preserve the intimidating potential of 452 voters by preventing them from being lost along the way - but at the cost of inaction. But if the Centre-Right has only once voted together on one name - that of Elisabetta Casellati, with the unhappy outcome caused by seventy defections - the Centre-Left has never voted for anyone, except in the decisive election. The anomaly of a presidential election without flagship candidates (except for those of FdI or those outside the two coalitions) gives the measure of how weak are the two sides.

However, the decisive fact remains: that the Centre-Left has never even dared to vote, but in the end has obtained the re-election by a large majority of its own man, namely Sergio Mattarella. And certainly not of a president who, once landed in the Quirinal, has shown himself a neutral arbiter. We only recall, in the aftermath of the 2018 elections, his refusal to grant a chance of parliamentary vote to the Centre-Right and, above all, his refusal to accept Paolo Savona as Minister of the Economy, with the concrete risk of sending the country back to the vote even in the presence of a parliamentary majority, just because he did not like it. Even the Conte bis and Draghi operations, although perfectly lawful from a legal point of view, have revealed the political preferences of the Head of State, not being obligatory options. Mattarella has also represented the top of the judiciary in the midst of the Palamara scandal and has overseen the failure of the reform. Finally, there is the endorsement given to infamous measures, from the lockdown to the Green Pass, but in this case it is a historical responsibility and not a political one, since these measures unfortunately enjoy a majority and transversal consensus in Parliament.

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We are not in a position to judge whether the final success of the Center-Left, which for the second time obtains the re-election of one of its own men to the highest office of State, is due to the greater tactical-strategic abilities of Letta, Conte and Di Maio compared to Salvini, Tajani and Meloni. Certainly the control over the discourse weighs heavily. The ability to perceive all the opposing candidates as divisive and their own as "institutional". The work done to place their men at the top of all orders and apparatuses, so that in the end it was even difficult to find non-political names to oppose the Center-Left ... that were not themselves of the center-left. The imposition of an irrational "urgency" to elect someone as soon as possible, as if the fate of Italy and the world depended on the rapid choice of a President of the Republic.

There are many things to think about and discuss in our political area. What is certain is that the re-election of Sergio Mattarella cannot be presented as a victory: undoubtedly, if a representative of the adversary, in the minority compared to you, passes, you have been defeated. We can discuss whether it was a lesser evil compared to other options (above all Mario Draghi who moves from Chigi to the Quirinal), but we can not deny that it is an evil.

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Founder and President of Centro Studi Machiavelli. Graduated in Historical Sciences (University of Milan) and PhD in Political Studies (Sapienza University), he is professor of "History and doctrine of jihadism" and "Geopolitics of the Middle East" at Cusano University. From 2018 to 2019 he was Special Advisor on Immigration and Terrorism to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Guglielmo Picchi. His latest book (as editor) is Topicality of sovereignism. Between pandemic and war.