Sergio Mattarella was elected the eleventh president of the Republic on 31 January 2015 for a seven-year term. His election after the fourth round of voting was a success for Matteo Renzi, the president of the Council of Ministers, who reunited his party, reinforced his government, and weakened his opponents. The new president was elected by 66 percent of the electoral college, a relatively large majority, comprising principally the left but also a small part of the moderate right. That majority might also be seen as a centrist establishment vote in a still polarized party and political system. This perspective suggests that in addition to the president’s institutional significance, which may be sharply reduced in the near future due to major constitutional reforms, his importance as a national figure and socialization agent should also be considered. The president’s ability to represent and enhance social cohesion may be particularly important in a more majoritarian political system.
This chapter deals with the political crisis of the Italian center-right that started with the fall of the Berlusconi IV government and the 2013 general elections. In 2015, the struggle for leadership of the center-right took place between Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, resulting in the reversal of the balance of power between Forza Italia and the Lega Nord. Based on election results and some electoral surveys, Lega Nord seems to have become the third party at the national level and, through a process of radicalization, also the party of the new Italian right. From an organizational point of view, Salvini’s leadership can be defined as a personalized and postmodern media leadership. The systemic risks of this scenario are the absence of a center-right party that can compete with the Partito Democratico led by Matteo Renzi, the growing fragmentation of the center-right, and the conflict between moderate and radical tendencies. All these factors challenge the return to an alternating democracy.