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.
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