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Mattarella becomes Italy's longest serving president

Mattarella has been Italy's head of state since 2015.

Sergio Mattarella on Friday became Italy's longest-serving president, surpassing the record held by his predecessor Giorgio Napolitano, who died last month aged 98.

Mattarella, 82, has been in office for 3,167 days as of 6 October, beating the 3,166-day record of Napolitano.

Both men were the only two presidents of Italy to be re-elected for a second term.

When his seven-year presidential term expired in April 2013, Napolitano - then aged 87 - reluctantly agreed to a second term to end the parliamentary deadlock that followed the general election.

After eight and a half years as president, Napolitano resigned aged 89 in January 2015 and was succeeded by Mattarella.

On completion of his seven years in office, Mattarella was re-elected in January 2022 after lawmakers begged him to stay, amid a failure by parties to find another mutually agreeable candidate to serve as head of state.

Mattarella, who had repeatedly made it clear that he wanted to retire, agreed to serve again after then Italian premier Mario Draghi and party leaders pleaded with him to remain in office "for the good and stability of the country."

Prior to his re-election Mattarella had signed a lease for an apartment in Rome which he had planned to move into after vacating the presidential residence at the Quirinal Palace.

"I had other plans but I am here if needed," Mattarella was reported as saying at the time, adding: "I will do my best."

Photo: Gints Ivuskans / Shutterstock.com.

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