Giovanni Leone

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Giovanni Leone (1967)
Signature of Giovanni Leone

Giovanni Leone (born November 3, 1908 in Naples , † November 9, 2001 in Rome ) was an Italian politician of the Democrazia Cristiana and from 1971 to 1978 the sixth President of the Italian Republic .


Leone earned a law degree in 1929 and a degree in political science in 1930. As a young lawyer he joined the National Fascist Party founded by Benito Mussolini . In 1933 Leone was appointed Associate Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Camerino , and two years later he won the competition for a full professorship in this field. He taught in Messina, Bari, Naples and Rome. Leone participated as a soldier in World War II. He was married to Vittoria Michitto and had three children.

In 1944 he joined the Democrazia Cristiana. In the referendum on Italy's future form of government on June 2, 1946, Leone expected a victory for the monarchy ; instead, the majority of Italians voted for the establishment of the republic . As a member of the constituent assembly (1946 to 1948) he took an active part in drafting the Italian constitution.

From 1948 to 1967 he sat in the Chamber of Deputies , from 1955 to 1963 as its President .

Leone was twice Prime Minister of Italy for a short time, from June to November 1963 and from June to November 1968. In December 1964, the Democrazia Cristiana Leone selected as its candidate for the office of President. However, Leone, who did not have the unanimous support of his party, failed because of Giuseppe Saragat . On August 27, 1967 he was appointed Senator for life by President Saragat for his social and scientific services to the welfare of Italy . On December 24, 1971, he was elected President with 518 of 1,008 votes (51.4%) and held the office until June 1978. His election lasted 15 days and 23 ballots, the longest in Italy to date. The decisive votes for his election finally came from the neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano .

As president, Leone went on trips abroad to Switzerland , France , the Benelux countries , Austria , the USA , Iran , Egypt , Saudi Arabia and Oman , the Soviet Union and Malta . There were also visits to the Pope in the Vatican and to the Sovereign Order of Malta in Rome, subject of international law .

Seven months before the official end of his seven-year term, Leone resigned prematurely from the office of President. The reason was his involvement in the Italian version of the Lockheed scandal , in which he was considered a key figure. Here, from 1972 to Italian politicians had the purchase of transport aircraft of the type 130-C of the company Lockheed advocated by Italy and for billion lire received bribes. Leone was considered a key figure under the code name Antelope Cobbler . The Italian Communist Party demanded that Leone resign, and the Democrazia Cristiana refused to give the president the support he had initially expected as a member. Camilla Cederna , a journalist who played a key role in the press campaign against Leone, was later convicted of defamation.

After his resignation and until his death, Leone continued to serve as senator for life. In 1994 he supported the government of Silvio Berlusconi in the vote of confidence in the Senate . In 1996, however, he spoke out in favor of Romano Prodi's government . Two years later he voted against the first government of Massimo D'Alema . On the occasion of his 90th birthday, his reputation was restored: some of his previous accusers, including Marco Pannella and Emma Bonino , publicly apologized to the former president.

Web links

Commons : Giovanni Leone  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Overview of the election results on the Quirinals website
  2. List of trips on