The Powers & Election of the President of Italy

The Powers & Election of the President of Italy
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  • 0:02 Italian Government
  • 0:40 Election
  • 2:32 Presidential Powers
  • 4:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

In this lesson, we'll look closely at the president of the Republic of Italy. We'll focus especially on the president's election, role, and daily duties.

Italian Government

Lucia lives in Italy, a country located in southern Europe. She loves Italy, and lately she's been thinking that she might want to be part of the government. Specifically, Lucia thinks she might want to run for president of Italy.

Italy's government includes a president, a prime minister, and two legislative branches: the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Each of these roles are slightly different, and if Lucia wants to run for president, she should know how the president is elected and what he/she does. To help Lucia out, let's take a closer look at the powers and the election of the president of Italy.

Election

So Lucia's interested in running for the president of Italy. The first question that she needs to ask is am I able to run? Like the United States, Italy has some qualifications that must be met. The two qualifications are that the person running be an Italian citizen with full rights and be at least 50 years old. Lucia wasn't born in Italy but she did become an Italian citizen years ago, so she meets the first qualification. In addition, she's 52 years old, so she meets the age requirement, too. Of course, often candidates for president have a long history of political service, which Lucia doesn't have. But, that's not a requirement.

So, how can Lucia get elected? Well, the Italian Constitution lays out the election process. The election involves 58 special electors who each represent different regions of the country. The electors and members of the legislature cast a secret ballot. If Lucia gets a 2/3 majority, she'll become president. That's pretty straight forward. However, as presidents know, things in politics are rarely as simple as they appear on paper!

Because there's usually a pretty long list of candidates representing three or more political parties, it's pretty unusual for one to get 2/3 of the vote. So, often a second or third, or even fourth or fifth ballot is cast. For the first three votes, the rules are the same: to become president, a 2/3 majority is required. But starting on the fourth ballot, a simple majority is enough to elect a president. So if Lucia can hold on for four votes, she could become president with just 51% of the votes. Of course, that's not always easy either. One time it took 23 ballots to elect a president!

Presidential Powers

Lucia meets the criteria to run for president, and now she knows how she could be elected. But if she is elected, would Lucia actually want to be president? What exactly does the president do?

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