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President of
the Italian Republic
Presidential flag of Italy.svg
Italian presidential standard
Incumbent
Giorgio Napolitano

since May 15, 2006
Residence Quirinale Palace
Term length 7 years
Inaugural holder Constitution of Italy
Formation January 1, 1948
Website www.quirinale.it

The President of the Italian Republic (Italian: Presidente della Repubblica) is the head of state of Italy and, as such, is intended to represent national unity. The president's term of office lasts for seven years.

The current President of the Republic is Giorgio Napolitano, elected at the fourth ballot on May 10, 2006. He became the eleventh President of the Italian Republic on May 15, 2006.

Contents

Qualifications for office

  • Italian citizenship
  • At least 50 years old
  • Not barred from holding political or civil rights

Election

The President of the Republic is elected by Parliament in joint session, together with three representatives of each region (except for the Aosta Valley, which gets only one representative) in such a way as to guarantee representation to minorities.

To achieve the maximum consensus for an institution intended to guarantee the upholding of the constitution, in the first three ballots a two-thirds majority is required. After that, a simple majority suffices.

The President’s term lasts seven years; this prevents any president from being elected by the same Houses, which have a five-year mandate, and grants some freedom from excessive political ties to the appointing body.

The vote is held in the Chamber of Deputies. The President takes office after having taken an oath before Parliament, and delivering to it a presidential address.

Italian Republic

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Italy



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Presidential Mandate

In addition to the natural end, the mandate can be stopped by:

  • Voluntary resignation;
  • Death;
  • Permanent inability, due to serious illness;
  • Dismissal for crimes of high treason and attack on the Constitution.

Former Presidents of the Republic are called Presidents Emeritus of the Republic and shall be appointed Senator for life.

In the absence of the President of the Republic, including travel abroad, its functions have been performed by the President of the Senate.

Role

The Constitution of Italy lays out the duties and powers of the President of the Republic, which in detail are:

  1. in relation to external representation:
    • Accrediting and receiving diplomatic functionaries;
    • Ratifying international treaties, upon authorization of Parliament (if needed according to article 80 of the Constitution);
    • Making official visits abroad, accompanied by a member of the government;
    • Declaring a state of war, deliberated by Parliament;
  2. in relation to the exercise of parliamentary functions:
    • Nominating up to five senators-for-life;
    • Sending messages to the Chambers, calling them to extraordinary session and dissolving them;
    • Calling elections and fixing the date for the first meeting of the new Chambers;
  3. in relation to legislative functions:
    • Authorizing the presentation in Parliament of proposed laws on the part of the government;
    • Promulgating the laws approved in Parliament;
    • Remanding to the Chambers, with an explanation, and asking for reconsideration (one time only);
  4. in relation to popular sovereignty:
  5. in relation to the executive function and of political guideline;
    • Naming the prime minister of Italy, and on proposal of the latter, the ministers;
    • Accepting the oath of the government, and its resignation if it resigns;
    • Emanating laws by decree (proposed by the government without the approval of Parliament; if they will not trasformed in ordinary law, they remain valid only for 60 days);
    • Naming certain high state functionaries;
    • Presiding over the Consiglio Supremo di Difesa ("Supreme Defense Council"), and commanding the armed forces;
    • Decreeing the dissolution of regional councils and the removals of presidents of regions;
  6. in relation to the exercise of jurisdiction:
    • Presiding over the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura ("Superior Judicial Council");
    • Naming one third of the Constitutional Court;
    • Granting pardons and commutations.

The Constitution provides that every presidential act must be countersigned by a Minister or the President of the Council.

Usually in parliamentary republics the president's powers are used only formally by the head of state because they are practiced in reality by the Prime Minister. In Italy some of the powers are practiced formally by the President and substantially by the Council of Minister, and the other are practiced substantially by the President and formally by the Council of Ministers.

Residence

The President resides in Rome at the Quirinal Palace, and also has at his or her disposal the presidential holdings of Castelporziano, near Rome, and Villa Rosebery, in Naples.

See also

References

External links

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