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Italy and Europe pay tribute to former Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano

Baku, September 26, AZERTAC

Italy's former President, Giorgio Napolitano will lie in state in the Italian Senate until Monday evening, before receiving a secular state funeral in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, according to euronews.

Italy's senior leaders paid their respects on Sunday, as the coffin of former President Giorgio Napolitano was placed in the Palazzo Madama for the lying-in-state period.

Napolitano, the first former Communist to rise to Italy’s presidency and the first person to be elected twice to the mostly ceremonial post, died on Friday at the age of 98.

His coffin was carried by the Corrazzieri. It was followed by his wife, Clio and their two sons, Giovanni and Giulio.

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia party and Italy's current Prime Minister offered her office's "deepest condolences" to the former president's family.

The current President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, recalled the European commitment of the former member of the Strasbourg Parliament, who fought "important battles for social development, peace and progress in Italy and Europe".

In a telegram to his widow, Pope Francis, who was visiting Marseille, paid tribute to a man who devoted his political activities to preserving the "unity and harmony" of his country.

The chamber will be open to the public from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. local time on Sunday and on Monday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Napolitano’s funeral will be held on Tuesday in a non-religious ceremony at Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian Lower Chamber of the Parliament.

Napolitano was one of the protagonists of Italian politics in the 20th century, after the war, as a communist exponent, president of the Chamber of Deputies, Minister of the Interior, Euro-parliamentarian, and senator for life, among other positions throughout his life.

But his career reached its zenith in 2006 when he was elected President of the Republic, having to watch over the stability of a country accustomed to turbulence on countless occasions, which earned him the nickname of “King Giorgio.”

His nine years at the country’s helm had key moments, such as when he pushed Silvio Berlusconi to resign in 2011 amid the economic crisis, replacing him with the technocratic asset of Mario Monti, with the support of Europe and not without reluctance from the Italian right.

He also had to resolve the political deadlock after the 2013 elections due to the rise of the populists of the Five Star Movement, giving the Executive to Enrico Letta of the Democratic Party.

His influence was such that that same year, when he was due to finish his work in the Quirinale, he had to repeat in office given the political deadlock to find him a successor. He reluctantly accepted, being the first to revalidate the position until he could resign in 2015.

These days, the Italian political class, especially from the center-left area, has thanked him for his work for democracy and the country’s governance.

The funeral chapel was attended by the Prime Minister, the far-right Giorgia Meloni, and the head of the opposition and leader of the Democratic Party, Elly Schlein, as well as the European Commissioner for the Economy and former Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, among others.

The funeral will culminate next Tuesday with a secular state funeral, without religious references, in the Chamber of Deputies from 11:30 local time (9:30 GMT).

The Government will proclaim national mourning throughout the day. However, flags are already flying at half-mast in all public buildings in the country and diplomatic missions abroad.

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