Sergio Mattarella, 73 years of age and the new Italian President of the Republic. He has been elected by Parliament with 665 votes, close to the majority of the two-thirds and largely above the 505 quota that constitutes the absolute majority of the 1,000 grand electors.

The vow took place on Tuesday, the 3rd of February at 10 am in the courtroom of Montecitorio. Applause elevated from the docks of the PD at the camera when Mattarella reached the quorum for the election. There was also applause from centrists, Forza Italia, Fermi, members of the Lega and supporters of Grillo. The standing ovation to celebrate the election of the new head of state lasted almost four minutes.

In his speech he spoke with insistence about the rampant corruption and he talked about it with accurate severity saying that it is not only a plague that injures profoundly the sane part of the country, but that encroaches like a sort of metastasis that seizes all territories that used to be immune. Mafia, corruption and the discourse on legality occupied a very significant space in the President’s speech, which though brief was concise, dry and very rigorous. Its appeal being that it mentioned using unity in order to fight these pathologies.

On corruption he said that we have to innovate the legalistic culture. On Mafia he talked by citing many heroes including Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone. Of course, not mentioned in the speech, was Piersanti Mattarella, his brother killed in ’82 by Mafia hands, where those authorized have been individuated though not the actual executors.

Thinking that tomorrow Italy will adjust to the style and the values indicated by Sergio Mattarella in his speech of investiture would be naïve, if not unrealistic. It would be even shortsighted, though to undervalue the change of phase that the arrival of the new head of state marks, not only in the political realm but also in the relationship between institutions and Italian society, would be equally imprudent. In his speech, Giorgio Napolitano’s successor has indicated a series of objectives that are not subordinated to the short time periods. Mattarella thinks in terms of seven years. It is likely that he knows well that the fruits of his disseminations, if they will occur, will arrive only after a considerable period of time.

In the immediate, we can grasp from the part of the political classes a sort of instinctive continuity in behaviour, in the language and in the style, almost as if the election was a virtuous and happy parenthesis, opened and closed without thinking too much about its significance. The claim for impartiality of the President is not an affirmation of rite. Impressed by the applause from a substantial part of the parliamentarians of the Five Star Movement and the files of Forza Italia, more than by the PD, they say that the ex-constitutional judge addressed plans towards Parliament like a stranger, with  many of his opponents seeing him as an interlocutor. Further, he is viewed as a sincere mender, not so much of the politics but of an Italy that is divided and worn out, that in the last years has almost resigned itself to accepting the worst and now finds itself tired of the conflicts and is anxious to start again.

The election of Mattarella closes two wounds. That of the PD that less than two years ago had burnt the candidature of Romano Prodi, and before him of Franco Marini, together with the anticipated resignation of Napolitano, that resulted because he didn’t feel he had the support he had been guaranteed. It must be said that if Mattarella is here, it is because of the presence of Napolitano, who was in fact cited and thanked within the President’s speech.

The bet of Sergio Mattarella is to reassure and sew up Italy socially, reconciling generations, the areas of the country, the different cultures and offering a solid mixture of historic memory and shared values, anchored to a rigorous vision of legality that the Second Republic was not able to cement.

He presents himself with humble style, simplicity, and the absence of gestural character. Not a brilliant orator but a reflective man, lightly ironic, who tends to eat his own words yet knows how to choose them with parsimonious precision.

The multitude of problems the President spoke of, cut and hurt the sane part of the country and therefore, also the economy; they become a cancer that erodes resources and denatures the correct processes.

Mattarrella asks us to gather together to face these difficulties in such a way that solving them involves everyone. Everyone has to contribute, everyone has to be responsible for the solution of such problems.

Crime, the Mafia, but also corruption, weaken and lacerate the social texture. The great part of the new President’s speech, concentrated on these themes, and insisted not coincidentally, that the government should do more and do it better, but this time all together, with the help of everyone.

By Diletta Moricca