Sergio Mattarella

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Sergio Mattarella
Presidente Sergio Mattarella.jpg
12th President of Italy
Assumed office
3 February 2015
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Preceded by Giorgio Napolitano
Judge of the Constitutional Court
In office
11 October 2011 – 2 February 2015
Nominated by Italian Parliament
Preceded by Paolo Maddalena
Succeeded by TBD
Minister of Defence
In office
22 December 1999 – 11 June 2001
Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema
Giuliano Amato
Preceded by Carlo Scognamiglio
Succeeded by Antonio Martino
Deputy Prime Minister of Italy
In office
21 October 1998 – 21 December 1999
Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema
Preceded by Walter Veltroni
Succeeded by Gianfranco Fini
Minister of Education
In office
22 July 1989 – 27 July 1990
Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti
Preceded by Giovanni Galloni
Succeeded by Gerardo Bianco
Minister of Parliamentary Relations
In office
28 July 1987 – 22 July 1989
Prime Minister Giovanni Goria
Ciriaco De Mita
Preceded by Gaetano Gifuni
Succeeded by Egidio Sterpa
Personal details
Born (1941-07-23) 23 July 1941 (age 74)
Palermo, Italy
Political party DC (Before 1994)
PPI (1994–2002)
DL (2002–2007)
PD (2007–2009)
Independent (2009–present)
Spouse(s) Marisa Chiazzese
(deceased 2012)
Children Bernardo Giorgio
Alma mater Sapienza University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Sergio Mattarella OMRI, OMI, OML, OSI, OVV, OMCA (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsɛrdʒo mattaˈrɛlla]; born 23 July 1941) is an Italian politician, lawyer and judge who has been President of Italy since 2015. He was a member of Parliament from 1983 to 2008, serving as Minister of Education from 1989 to 1990 and as Minister of Defence from 1999 to 2001. In 2011, he became an elected judge on the Constitutional Court.[1] On 31 January 2015, he was elected by parliament to be the 12th President of the Italian Republic. He is the first Sicilian to have held the post.[2]

Early life[edit]

Sergio Mattarella was born in Palermo of a prominent Sicilian family. His father, Bernardo Mattarella, was an anti-fascist who, alongside Alcide De Gasperi and other prominent Catholic politicians, helped found the Christian Democracy (DC) party, which dominated the Italian political scene for almost fifty years, with Bernardo serving as a minister several times.[3] Sergio Mattarella's brother, Piersanti Mattarella, was also a Christian Democratic politician and President of Sicily from 1978 until his death in 1980, when he was killed by the Sicilian Mafia.[4]

During his youth, Sergio Mattarella was a member of Azione Cattolica, a large Catholic lay association. In 1964, he graduated in law at the Sapienza University of Rome; after a few years he started teaching Parliamentary procedure at the University of Palermo.

Political career[edit]

Mattarella entered politics after the assassination of his brother Piersanti by the Mafia. His parliamentary career began in 1983, when he was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies in left-leaning faction of the DC that had supported an agreement with the Italian Communist Party (PCI) led by Enrico Berlinguer, the so-called Historic Compromise. The following year he was entrusted by the Secretary of the Christian Democrat, Ciriaco De Mita, to "clean up" the Sicilian faction of the party from Mafia control, at a time when made men of Cosa Nostra like Salvo Lima and Vito Ciancimino were powerful political figures.[5] In 1985 Mattarella helped the young lawyer Leoluca Orlando, who had worked alongside his brother Piersanti during his governorship of Sicily, to become the new Mayor of Palermo.

Mattarella was appointed Minister for Parliamentary Affairs in the governments led by Christian Democratic Prime Ministers Giovanni Goria and Ciriaco De Mita, and in 1989 he became Minister of Education in the sixth cabinet of Giulio Andreotti. Mattarella stood down from his position, together with other ministers, in 1990 upon parliament's passing of the Mammì Act, liberalising the media sector in Italy, which they saw as a favour to the media magnate Silvio Berlusconi.[6]

In 1990 Mattarella was appointed Vice-Secretary of Christian Democracy. He left the post two years later to become director of Il Popolo, the official newspaper of the party. Following the Italian referendum of 1993 he drafted the new electoral law nicknamed Mattarellum.[7] In 1994, when Christian Democracy was dissolved in the wake of the Tangentopoli corruption scandal, he helped found the Italian People's Party (PPI), along with its first leader Mino Martinazzoli and other former Christian Democrats.[6] In the ensuing 1994 general election (in which the newly founded PPI fared poorly) Martinazzoli was again elected to the Chamber of Deputies.[1] He soon found himself engaged in an internal dispute after the election of a new party leader, Rocco Buttiglione, who wished to steer the Italian People's Party towards an electoral alliance with Berlusconi's Forza Italia.[6] Following Buttiglione's appointment, Mattarella resigned as director of Il Popolo in opposition to this policy.[8]

Mattarella was one of the first supporters of the economist Romano Prodi at the head of the centre-left coalition known as The Olive Tree (L'Ulivo) in the 1996 general election. After the electoral victory of the centre-left, Mattarella served as President of the PPI's parliamentary group. Two years later, when Prodi's first government fell, Mattarella was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence in the government of Massimo D'Alema, then-leader of the Democrats of the Left (DS) . As Defence Minister he supported the NATO Intervention in Yugoslavia against the Serbian President Slobodan Milošević; he also approved a reform of the Italian Armed Forces which abolished conscription. After the resignation of D'Alema in 2000, Mattarella kept his position as Minister of Defence in the government of Giuliano Amato.[6]

Mattarella with the U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen in March 2000.

In October 2000 the PPI joined with other centrist parties to form an alliance called The Daisy (DL), later to merge into a single party in March 2002. Mattarella was re-elected to the Italian Parliament in the 2001 and 2006 general elections, standing as a candidate for The Daisy in two successive centre-left coalitions – The Olive Tree and The Union (L'Unione).[1]

In 2007 he was one of the founders of the Democratic Party (PD), a big tent centre-left party formed from a merger of left-wing and centrist parties which had been part of The Olive Tree, including The Daisy and the Democrats of the Left (heirs of the Italian Communist Party).[6]

On 5 October 2011 he was elected by the Italian Parliament with 572 votes to be a judge of the Constitutional Court. He was sworn in on 11 October 2011. He served until he was sworn in as president of the Republic of Italy.[9]

President of Italy[edit]

Sergio Mattarella with his predecessor, Giorgio Napolitano

On 31 January 2015 Mattarella was elected President of the Italian Republic at the fourth ballot with 665 votes out of 1,009, with support from the Democratic Party (PD), New Centre-Right (NCD) and Left Ecology Freedom (SEL).[10][11]

Mattarella was officially endorsed by the Democratic Party, after his name was put forward by the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.[12] Mattarella replaced Giorgio Napolitano, who had served for nine years, the longest presidency in the history of the Italian Republic. His first statement as new President was: "My thoughts go first and especially to the difficulties and hopes of our fellow citizens".[13][14][15]

His first presidential visit was on the day of his election, when he visited the Fosse Ardeatine where, in 1944 during World War II, the Nazi occupation troops killed 335 people as a reprisal for a partisan attack. Mattarella stated that "Europe and the world must be united to defeat whoever wants to drag us into a new age of terror".[16]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Marisa Chiazzese, daughter of Lauro Chiazzese, a professor of Roman law and rector of the University of Palermo. His wife died in 2012. He has three children.[17]


  1. ^ a b c "Sergio Mattarella chi è?". Il Post (in Italian). 29 January 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Walker, Keith (31 January 2015). "73-year-old Sicilian Sergio Mattarella is Italy’s new president". Euronews. Reuters. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Gigante Lorenzo. "Personaggi Trapanesi - Bernardo Mattarella". 
  4. ^ "The Andreotti Affair: Supergrasses target Andreotti", The Independent, April 16, 1993.
  5. ^ Messina, Sebastiano (29 January 2015). "Sergio Mattarella: dalla morte di Piersanti al no sulla Mammì, una carriera con la schiena dritta". 
  6. ^ a b c d e Cedrone, Giovanni (30 January 2015). "Sergio Mattarella, 35 anni di politica all'insegna della riservatezza". La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "È il Mattarellum il piano B del governo -". Corriere della Sera. 
  8. ^ Credazzi, Guido (2 August 1994). "Mancino: non saro' capogruppo, e Mattarella lascia il 'Popolo'". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Constitutional Court: Composition of the Court". Constitutional Court of Italy. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Scacchioli, Michela (31 January 2015). "Mattarella eletto al Quirinale con 665 voti. "Pensiero a difficoltà e speranze dei cittadini"". 
  11. ^ Italy's Lawmakers Elect Sergio Mattarella as President
  12. ^ "PM backs anti-mafia figure for Italy President". Yahoo News UK. 29 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Mattarella: "Il pensiero va alle difficoltà e alle speranze dei nostri concittadini"". Video Corriere. 
  14. ^ "Italy MPs elect judge Sergio Mattarella as president". BBC News. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Italy Elects President, While Mulling a Change in Role". New York Times. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Saviano, Carmine (31 January 2015). "Mattarella, davanti alla tv con i figli. Poi in Panda e, a sorpresa, va alle Fosse Ardeatine". 
  17. ^ "Sergio Mattarella: profilo privato di un uomo misurato" (in Italian). Panorama. January 30, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Gaetano Gifuni
Minister of Parliamentary Relations
Succeeded by
Egidio Sterpa
Preceded by
Giovanni Galloni
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Gerardo Bianco
Preceded by
Walter Veltroni
Deputy Prime Minister of Italy
Title next held by
Gianfranco Fini
Preceded by
Carlo Scognamiglio
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Antonio Martino
Preceded by
Giorgio Napolitano
President of Italy
Order of precedence
First Order of precedence of Italy
as President
Succeeded by
Pietro Grasso
as President of the Senate