Arrivederci, Napolitano!

Angela Merkel riceve Giorgio NapolitanoItaly’s president Giorgio Napolitano’s resignation leaves Italian political parties amidst uncertainties and upheaval. Many questions were raised whether he should have waited for more stability before resigning and some doubts on his professionalism and work ethics were heard.

According to the Italian political system, Italy’s president is head of state and is in charge of guaranteeing national unity and making sure the law complies with the constitution. His resignations come at a wrong time and have therefore accrued the instability, which reigns in the Bel Paese, politically at least.

Napolitano has played a key role in the 9 years of his mandate. He has ‘survived’ instable governments and fragile coalitions which managed to be elected because of the constantly evolving political scenario. For instance, his contribution was vital when the previous Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ousted from the Italian Parliament after being convicted for tax fraud. Napolitano, who could have legally pardoned him, did not react too well to the heated attack Berlusconi directed to his office, claiming he should have granted the pardon without being asked.

His stern approach to politics and the rigorousness he applied to his job made it clear for everyone that Napolitano regards the Italian establishment very highly – that there is no room for shortcuts to salvation on his watch. But what does his resignation mean now for Italy? Will this put all parliamentary work on hold? If so, for how long? That is hard to tell. This, and many other questions, will have to be answered soon in order to avoid any additional mayhem in the already turbulent situation Italy has been experiencing for years.

Napolitano resigns with a tinge of disappointment – he was really hoping to see more necessary reforms being implemented right before stepping down, but this will have to wait when times are right. The reforms would change the judicial system, the public administration and some assets of the Parliament. As always, Italy embraces change with difficulty.

However, he is also satisfied of the dynamism Matteo Renzi, the current Italian Prime Minister, is putting into his work – that is exactly what the country needs now to overcome the excessively prolonged situation of political stalemate. People need to regain trust in the institutions and need to see something is changing now.

Right after being appointed for the second mandate, he warned he wouldn’t have been in charge until the end – Napolitano will turn 90 in June and claims he has the right to be tired. And he is right. He continued to attend all national and international meetings on his agenda with no hesitation and delay, although he tried not to leave Rome as much as he did before. He has physically and psychologically endured all the political chaos Italian politics keeps on bringing about. Now he just cannot take it anymore and is ready to pass the buck to someone else.

He surely leaves a legacy behind him. Italy ought to find the right heir to King Giorgio, as he was called – someone who can wisely arbitrate all kinds of decisions parties from all the political spectrum can come up with. It’s not an easy task without any shadow of doubt, yet it is fundamental and necessary at the same time that someone continues all the hard work Napolitano spent so much energy on.

It will be interesting to see if and which reforms will be implemented and if the political status quo will still be as such in the upcoming months.


Luca Trovò is an English-Italian freelance translator in London. He has a BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Bergamo, Italy, and an MA in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Westminster in London. He is also an editor and translator for Equilibriarte. You can contact him and find out more on his Linkedin profile.


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