Prodi for President?

Romano Prodi is the man who defeated Berlusconi twice in the general elections. Can he be absent from the grand finale of Italy’s Second Republic? In September 2011, when president Napolitano along with Europe’s chancellors was plotting the firing of Berlusconi and his replacement with technocrat Mario Monti, a greatly shaped Prodi showed up at Cernobbio, the most important business gathering held every end-Summer in the luxury resort of Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake of Como. Since then, as the general elections of February 2013 neared, the two times PM and former boss of State mammoth industry and banking conglomerate IRI was keen to make selected and discrete appearances at top public events, always somewhat in the backstage. Just to remind his fellow policy-makers and business leaders he was still on stage as Italy was heading towards a political deadlock. After the Grillo electoral boom, the Berlusconi unbelievable survival and the centre-left alliance Pyrrhic win, Professor Prodi now feels to be somewhat in the position to take advantage of the messy political scenario in the race for the most important post: the presidency of the Republic. Giorgio Napolitano has to leave Palazzo del Quirinale on May 15th and by then the Parliament, capable or not to deliver a new government, has to vote his successor. The Prodi political history is somewhat parallel to the comic career of Beppe Grillo. While a then Christian Democrat Prodi at the helm of IRI was fighting against the socialist boss Bettino Craxi over the political belonging of state concerns ranging from banks, to steel, to food, to telecommunications, a Grillo at the top of his comic career was fired by then PM Craxi from state television RAI after he insulted his party during a prime time show. It’s perhaps worth noticing that one of the most talked candidates for the post at Quirinale is Giuliano Amato as well, the man who was at that time the closest aid of Craxi.

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