Marco Follini’s point of view for Adnkronos
“In the midst of the institutional campaign of 1946, a young and light-hearted Lino Iannuzzi started wandering around the villages of the South making an imaginative campaign in favor of the monarchy. It is a pity that the king invoked in those meetings was the Bourbon and not the Savoy. So Iannuzzi himself he did his best to mock the monarchical cause and to try to favor the republican one.
Now, to paraphrase Iannuzzi, it would be tempting to invoke an ‘unpopular’ president for the next Quirinale. And that is, a head of state who does not seek the applause of the people, but limits himself to administering with measure and discretion the prerogatives that the Constitution assigns to him. Prerogatives that are by no means trivial, but which in fact require a particular sobriety if one wants to remain within the confines of the republican tradition.
The heads of state elected up to now have always respected those borders, guaranteeing together the unity of the country and the balance of its forces. And they did it, gaining some popularity for themselves as well. The case of Mattarella, who entered the Quirinale on tiptoe and who is now preparing to leave it (irrevocably, it seems) to the applause of the La Scala audience, summarizes many other stories and figures that are recalled today not by chance – almost all of them – with a mixture of admiration and nostalgia.
In the past, as will be recalled, the heads of state were chosen so as not to overshadow the real masters of steam of that time: the parties and their leaders. And in fact almost all of them tended to avoid, especially at the beginning, to superimpose on the prestige of their office an extra of protagonism that could have damaged the equilibrium of that system. Over time, however, this costume ended up updating. And as the tenants of the Quirinale became familiar with their role, their popularity index almost always tended to grow and the character of their utterances to become slightly more assertive.
So far, between others and bass, a certain balance has been respected after all. In fact, the political protagonism of the successive heads of state has changed some customs but has never subverted the balance that the fathers of the country had outlined and their children tried to preserve. Of course, there have been, for various reasons, more pronounced political and media protagonists (Pertini, Cossiga) and individual presidential gestures more or less shared / bile, without however anyone recognizing the risk of a monarchical drift of our republican institutions.
Now, however, there is a new fact emerging. And it is that the invocation of a presidential republic begins to attract proselytes. It is the flag of Giorgia Meloni and of her right, as we have just seen. And it enjoys wide favor among a large part of public opinion, as reported by the latest poll by Ilvo Diamanti. Thus, a suggestion that had always remained on the sidelines of republican life is now beginning to gain ground. Fortunately, according to some. Damn, according to others (including myself).
All things that can be discussed, of course. But they require at least a prudent mix of powers. In fact, there could be nothing worse than arriving at a form of surreptitious, unintentional, perhaps even almost casual presidentialism. Leaving the laws as they are. And in the meantime, taking a path devoid of all those guarantees and all those counterweights that usually accompany a head of state elected by the people and no longer by Parliament.
The risk is that of putting a thaumaturge president on the throne, to whom the popular imagination ends up with a task that goes far beyond his powers. With the possibility that then that president is induced either to do too much so as not to disappoint or to give the idea of having done too little precisely because too much was expected of him.
This is why one hopes for a popular president but not too much, and that he will be authoritative without going in search of other powers. A certain discretion in exercising them, we have seen, is part of that quirinal virtue that we are looking for “. (By Marco Follini)