The former president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, died at the age of 98, ANSA reported.
In his homeland, Napolitano, who served one full presidential term and one incomplete, was one of the most respected political figures and was even known by the nickname “King George”, the agency noted.
Giorgio Napolinato was born on June 29, 1925 and was the 11th president of Italy from 2006 to 2015. He was also the first Italian head of state to agree to be re-elected for a second term in 2013 to avoid the crisis in Italy, but on the condition that he will step down in 2015.
A former soldier and then leader of the reformist wing of the Italian Communist Party until the establishment of the Democratic Party of the Left in 1991, Napolitano served as interior minister from 1996 to 1998 in the center-left government of Romano Prodi. The first comprehensive immigration law in Italy, known as “Turco-Napolitano” and passed in 1998, was also named after Napolitano.
I mourn the passing of former President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano.
A towering Italian statesman, with a strong European heart.
He has been an anchor of stability for his country in difficult times, deeply convinced that a united Europe was in the interests of its…
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) September 22, 2023
Napolitano graduated in law from the University of Naples in 1947 and was first elected as a deputy to the lower house of parliament in 1953. He held parliamentary mandates there almost continuously until 1996.
He was a member of the European Parliament from 1989 to 1992 before being elected Speaker of Italy’s lower house of parliament from 1992 to 1994.
He played a leading role in Italy’s political scene, especially in the creation of Mario Monti’s expert government at the height of the debt crisis in 2011. Napolitano is credited with saving Italy from bankruptcy. Because of all this, Napolitano was known as “King George”, writes BTA.
According to supporters of the right, however, Napolitano ended the rule of the last government of Silvio Berlusconi, complicit with the European authorities.
Breaking News: Giorgio Napolitano, modern Italy’s longest-serving president, is dead at 98. https://t.co/u8565ajhUj
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 22, 2023
In 2005, Napolitano was elected senator for life by then-president and predecessor Carlo Azelio Ciampi.
Napolitano spoke excellent English and had lectured at a number of American universities. During his career in the Communist ranks, Napolitano frequently criticized the USSR, especially over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980.