Designation: President of the Senate
Country: Italy, Europe
Maria Elisabetta Casellati, née Alberti (12 August 1946), is a lawyer and politician from Italy who has served as President of the Italian Senate since 2018. She is the first woman to hold this post in history.
Casellati was born in the year 1946 in Rovigo, Italy. She earned a law degree from the University of Ferrara. She went on to work as a university researcher at the University of Padua after that. In Padua, she also practiced law as a matrimonial lawyer. She and her husband, Gianbattista Casellati, worked as professional lawyers for many years.
She was a member of the Italian Liberal Party before joining Forza Italia (F.I.), Silvio Berlusconi’s liberal-conservative party. She had a number of high-ranking positions inside the party’s structure. She was elected to the Italian Senate in a general election in March 1994, representing the single-member seat of Cittadella in Padua. Casellati served as the secretary of F.I.’s parliamentary group in the Senate as well as the head of the Health Commission during the 12th Legislature.
Casellati was the provincial commissioner of Forza Italia for Rovigo from 1999 to 2000. Following the general election of 2001, she was re-elected to the Senate for the Padua seat. She was later elected to the Veneto multi-member constituency in the 2013 general election. However, in September 2014, she was elected to the High Council of the Judiciary (CSM) by the Parliament in a joint session. She remained a member until her return to the Senate in 2018 with the reconstituted Forza Italia. From October 2016 until her resignation, she was the president of the CSM’s Third Commission on Access to the Judiciary and Mobility.
Casellati has identified herself as a conservative and a devout Catholic who has spoken out against artificial insemination and signed a bill repealing law 194 on the voluntary termination of pregnancy, calling abortion “a very terrible mistake” that “flirts with the culture of death.” She also supports the reopening of brothels and the removal of the Merlin law that would ensue. She is also a strong supporter of the flat tax, and when she was elected to the Senate, she emphasized that a tax reform to help families and businesses should be Italy’s top priority.
She is the mother of two children, writer and bicycle advocate Ludovica Casellati and conductor Alvise Casellati.
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