“He had other plans for his future,” said Julia Unterberger, a senator from the small SVP party who was among the party whips who met Mattarella before the final vote. “Given the situation, we begged him to stay for another term.”

Mattarella won a second seven-year mandate with 759 votes, far exceeding the threshold of 505, after being persuaded to stay on in the role after ruling party leaders failed to reach an agreement on a candidate who could secure broad support from the 1,009 parliamentarians and regional representatives electing the president.

Mario Draghi, the prime minister, had also urged Mattarella, 80, to remain in post “for the good and stability of the country”. Mattarella had been due to step down on 3 February, and before succumbing to pressure had repeatedly said he did not want another term.

“He had other plans for his future,” said Julia Unterberger, a senator from the small SVP party who was among the party whips who met Mattarella before the final vote. “Given the situation, we begged him to stay for another term.”

Parliamentarians applauded after Mattarella clinched victory. After the result, Draghi said: “Sergio Mattarella’s reelection as president of the republic is splendid news for Italians. I am grateful to the president for his choice to support the very strong will of parliament to reelect him for a second term.”

 

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