He is elected every seven years by a college comprising both chambers of parliament and three representatives from each region. The minimum age for presidential candidates is 50.
Duties of the president
The President’s duties include appointing the Prime Minister, promulgating laws and decrees, authorizing the presentation of government bills in parliament and, with parliamentary authorization, ratifying treaties and declaring war. He may dissolve parliament (except during the last six months of his term of office), either on his own initiative in consultation with the presidents of both chambers or at the request of the government, and he has the power to call special sessions of parliament and delay legislation.
The President commands the armed forces and presides over the Supreme Council of Defence and the Superior Council of Magistrates. Whenever a government is defeated or resigns, it’s his duty (after consulting eminent politicians and party leaders) to appoint the person most likely to win the confidence of parliament, although the candidate is usually designated by the majority parties and the President has limited choice.
President of Italy
The current president of Italy is Sergio Mattarella who was elected on 31st January 2015. He was elected by parliament to be the 12th President of the Italian Republic.
Sergio Mattarella was born in Palermo on 23 July 1941. He has three children. In 1964 he obtained a summa con laude Law Degree from “La Sapienza” University of Rome with a dissertation on: “Public Policy Guidelines”. He was admitted to the Palermo Bar Association in 1967.
Mattarella taught parliamentary law at the Law School of the University of Palermo until 1983, when he took leave of absence upon being elected member of the Chamber of Deputies. Most of his scientific research and publications have focused on constitutional law.
His political experience originated in the Catholic social and reform movement. In 1983 he was elected to Parliament for the Christian Democracy Party in the western Sicily constituency and remained a member of the Chamber of Deputies until 2008. During these seven parliamentary terms he was member of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Legislative Commission, which he also chaired.
He was also member of the Bicameral Committee for Institutional Reform of the XI Legislature (and its Deputy Chairman), of the Bicameral Committee for Institutional Reform of the XIII Legislature, of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry on Terrorism and Massacres, and of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry on the Mafia. In the XV Legislature he was Chairman of the Jurisdictional Committee of the Chamber of Deputies.
Sergio Mattarella became Deputy Prime Minister in October 1998 and Minister of Defence from December 1999 to the June 2001 elections. During his mandate, laws were enacted to abolish conscription and to turn the Carabinieri into an autonomous armed force. In those years, Italy stepped up its involvement in UN peace missions and contributed significantly to the interposition and peacekeeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.