Oscar Luigi Scalfaro

Led country through 1990s scandal

MILAN, Italy Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, a past president of Italy who held the post during the sweeping corruption scandal of the early 1990s that reshaped the country's post-war political landscape, died Sunday in Rome. He was 93.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano paid tribute to his predecessor as "a protagonist in the democratic political life" and an example of "moral integrity."

Mr. Scalfaro was a key figure in postwar Italian politics, helping to write the constitution and to found the former Christian Democrats.

He held numerous prominent government posts before becoming Italy's ninth post-war president, a position that is largely ceremonial but carries the significant role of moral compass for the country.

As president from 1992-99, Mr. Scalfaro was often called upon to resolve Italy's recurrent political crises, either choosing a new premier or calling early elections. He once called Italy's volatile political situation "pathological."

Published in The Record/Herald News on Jan. 30, 2012