Giorgio Napolitano, a former communist who served as President of Italy between 2006 and 2015, died in a hospital in Rome at the age of 98. “King Giorgio” has played a dominant role in Italian politics in recent decades.
Napolitano was a popular politician who wielded power across party lines. He was often seen as a welcome moral counterpart to populist politician Silvio Berlusconi, who died earlier this year.
At an early age, Napolitano became a member of the Communist Party, which was later renamed a leftist party under his leadership. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Italian first became a member of the European Parliament, then President of the Chamber of Deputies and then Minister of the Interior under Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
In 2013, Napolitano reluctantly accepted a second term as president after attempts to find a successor failed several times.
At the end of 2014, he announced his early retirement. In all, he was president for more than 3,000 days, a record. Sergio Mattarella, the current president of Italy, is Napolitano’s successor.
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