Giorgio Napolitano - two time president of Italy who died on Friday 22nd September 2023

Day of mourning for Napolitano funeral


Giorgio Napolitano, the first former Communist to rise to Italy’s presidency, died on Friday, the Quirinal presidential palace said. Napolitano served as president for two terms. His funeral will be held on 26th September, and Italy will hold a day of mourning.

Giorgio Napolitano was the first person to be elected twice to the mostly ceremonial Italian presidency. On Friday night, the presidential palace confirmed the death of the 98-year-old. He had been in ailing health for weeks in a Rome hospital.

The current president, Sergio Mattarella, in a message hailed his predecessor as head of state, saying that Napolitano’s life “mirrored a large part of the history” of Italy in the second half of the 20th century.

Political life of Napolitano

Napolitano served as the 11th president of the Italian Republic from 2006 to 2015. He was also the first head of state to be elected for a second mandate, in 2013.

He was a former militant, then leader of, the reformist wing of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) until the establishment of the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) in 1991.

Napolitano sought dialogue with Italian and European socialists to end his party’s isolation. He was also an early backer of European integration.

Whilst acting as interior minister in the 1996-1998 centre-left government of Romano Prodi, he gave his name to Italy’s first comprehensive immigration law, in 1998 – Turco-Napolitano.

The former president’s long political career also saw him as a member of the European Parliament from 1989 to 1992. He was then elected Speaker of Italy’s Lower House from 1992 until 1994.

He was said to have helped engineer the end of Silvio Berlusconi‘s final government, allegedly colluding with European authorities. However, he regularly topped polls of Italy’s most popular politicians.

Napolitano spoke fluent English and lectured at several American universities in the late 1970s.

Napolitano’s funeral will be held on Tuesday with a non-religious ceremony at Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Lower House of parliament.

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