ROME (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 23rd January, 2022) Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi decided against running for Italian president, according to the politician's statement released on Saturday.
"We will put forward a joint proposal of the center right, which will ensure the best possible consensus," La Repubblica newspaper quoted the statement, read out on behalf of Berlusconi by Senator Licia Ronzulli during an online meeting of the coalition in the absence of the Forza Italia leader.
Berlusconi held an online meeting with his party's leadership and government ministers from his villa in Arcore near Milan earlier on Saturday. During the meeting, the party agreed to continue the work of the current prime minister, Mario Draghi, who is the most likely candidate for the president's post.
The veteran politician explained his decision on Facebook, saying he wanted to protect the unity of the country and to ensure the effective functioning of the current government after finding out he had sufficient support from the coalition. However, Italian experts have doubted whether the former prime minister would have been able to get enough votes in the election.
The Italian Parliament will meet for the presidential election on January 24. According to the country's constitution, the president is elected at a joint meeting of both chambers, which also includes delegates from all 20 regions of the country. The election of the head of state is carried out by secret ballot by a two-thirds majority of the assembly. However, after the third round, a candidate requires a simple majority of votes to be elected.