David Maria Sassoli (May 30, 1956 – January 11, 2022) was an Italian journalist, television presenter and politician, who served as President of the European Parliament from 3 July 2019 until his death. He was affiliated with the center-left-leaning Democratic Party.
David Sassoli was born in Florence on May 30, 1956. In the 1970s, he graduated in Political Science from the University of Florence.
He was an active member of the Italian association Articolo 21, liberi di... ("Article 21, free from..."), founded in 2001 and which brings together journalists, writers and lawyers to defend freedom of expression.
Sassoli obtained his professional journalist's license in July 1986. He began by working for local newspapers and news agencies, before joining the editorial offices of the national newspaper Il Giorno in Rome.
In 1992, he joined the channels of the Italian public television station, Rai. He started out as a reporter for TG3, the TV news channel Rai 3, and collaborated on programs such as "Il rosso e il nero" ("The red and the black") and "Tempo reale" ("Real time"). In 1996/1997, he presented the program "Cronaca in diretta" ("Live coverage"), on Rai 2. After a few years, he became the pivot of TG1, the TV news of the main channel, Rai 1, where he became one of the most famous journalists in the country. In 2007, he was appointed deputy director of TG1.
In 2009, Sassoli left his journalistic career and joined the center-left Democratic Party (PD). He ran in the 2009 European Parliament elections for the Central Italy circle. He was elected MEP with the most votes in that constituency: 412,502. Between 2009 and 2014, he was the leader of the PD delegation in Parliament.
In October 2012, Sassoli announced his candidacy in the PD primaries to be the party's candidate for mayor of Rome in the 2013 municipal elections. In the primaries, he ended up in second place, with 26% of the votes, losing to Ignazio Marino, which raised 55%. Marino would later be elected mayor of Rome by defeating Gianni Alemanno, the right-wing candidate and holder of the post.
In the 2014 European elections, Sassoli was re-elected to the European Parliament, with 206,170 votes. In these elections, PD was the most voted party in Italy, with around 41% of the vote.
On 1 July 2014, Sassoli was elected as one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, with 393 votes, being the second most voted among the candidates of the S&D, the parliamentary group of Socialists and Social Democrats.
In the 2019 European elections, he was re-elected MEP with 128,533 votes. He was the Socialists' candidate for President of Parliament, having been elected on July 3, 2019, with 345 votes, succeeding fellow Italian Antonio Tajani. He became the seventh Italian to hold the position.
He was married and has two children. He was a fan of ACF Fiorentina, his hometown football club.
Sassoli died on January 11, 2022, at the age of 65, in Aviano.
Media related to David Sassoli at Wikimedia Commons