Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

The FT’s coverage of the Italian presidential election (“Mattarella’s re-election exposes a selfish political class”, Instant Insight, January 31; and Report, January 31) misses the main point. Maybe bringing back Sergio Mattarella is helpful in the short run, in order to see through the Draghi reforms. But it is an expedient which overlooks the long-term health of Italian politics.

Two very intelligent and prominent women were very close to being called and were considered even by Matteo Salvini, leader of the rightwing League, as serious candidates for the presidency. Elisabetta Belloni, currently head of the Department of Information Security, and Marta Cartabia, Minister of Justice in the Draghi administration are both younger than Mattarella and neither is enmeshed in party politics.

Mattarella’s re-election, a repeat of Giorgio Napolitano’s return in 2013, is no more than a stop gap, after which Italian politics might revert to “business-as-usual”.

The chance to elect a woman to the presidency represented a unique opportunity to break with the bad habits, maschilism (male chauvinism) and corruption of the past.

Tania Elliott
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK

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