Italy: Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigns, but the president refuses

Italy: Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigns, but the president refuses

UPGRADE DAY

ROME | Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, weakened by the defection of a party from his coalition, presented his resignation on Thursday evening, immediately refused by President Sergio Mattarella, who asked him to count his troops in parliament.&nbsp ;

“The President of the Republic did not accept the resignation of the President of the Council and invited him to present himself to Parliament (…) so that an assessment of the situation could take place “, announced Thursday evening the presidency.

Mario Draghi had announced his intention to throw in the towel after the decision of the 5 Star Movement (M5S, antisystem), member of his coalition, to boycott a vote of confidence in the Senate in the middle of the afternoon.

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“The majority of national unity that has supported this government since its creation no longer exists,” he explained during an urgently convened council of ministers.

The former head of the European Central Bank had taken office in early 2021 to build a coalition broad and strong enough to overcome the pandemic emergency and the ensuing economic crisis.

Apart from the Fratelli d'Italia party (extreme right), the main parties represented in parliament joined the coalition, from the center left (Democratic Party, Italia Viva) to the League (extreme right, anti-immigration), via the party of Silvio Berlusconi Forza Italia (center right), and the 5 Star Movement.

Frictions

But the frictions have not stopped with the M5S , whether inside the party or in government.

And in accordance with the announcement made Wednesday evening by Giuseppe Conte, predecessor of Mr. Draghi and current boss of the M5S, the senators of his party did not participate in the vote of confidence requested by the executive on a decree-law containing measures of around 23 billion euros to help families and businesses in the face of inflation.

The text is passed. However, without the support of the M5S, Mr. Draghi considers that his government is becoming “political” and considers that he has not been mandated to lead a cabinet of this nature, even though he does not need their votes, nor to the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate.

“I have always said that this government would continue only if it had a clear perspective of carrying out the program” on which it had been invested, he said. justified on Thursday evening.

Draghi bis?

The Head of State therefore refused to let him leave in the middle of summer, at the risk of bringing Italy into a period of instability. Mr. Mattarella is also notoriously opposed to the legislative elections, currently scheduled for 2023, being brought forward to the fall.

This decision makes it possible to “send Mario Draghi back to parliament to check whether a majority still exists for this government,” Lorenzo Castellani, professor of political science at Luiss University in Rome, told AFP.

The leader of the Democratic Party, one of the main members of the coalition, immediately rejoiced on Twitter, pledging to “work so that the parliament confirms its confidence in the Draghi government and that Italy leaves as soon as possible the spiral into which it has fallen in recent hours”

At the origin of the crisis, the decree-law on aid in favor of purchasing power also contains a measure to facilitate the construction of a garbage incinerator in Rome, opposed by the M5S.

“We must respond to the growing social malaise in a clear and decisive way. The irresponsible are not us, they are those who do not give an answer to the country”, pleaded Mariolina Castellone, leader of the senators of the M5S, in the Senate on Thursday.

The scholarship fall

But the movement also has, if not above all, electoralist ulterior motives, according to analysts.

“The M5S is collapsing in the polls and needs to recover visibility (…). He wants to be at the center of attention, ”explained Lorenzo Codogno, former chief economist of the Italian Treasury and visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

The M5S, winner of the last legislative elections, in 2018, with 32% of the vote and a relative majority in Parliament, has since continued to plummet in voting intentions, today at 10%-11%, and many of its elected officials have left it since.

A third of its deputies, around 50, split and followed the former leader of the M5S, the current Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who recently created his own party, Together for the Future (IPF).

Uncertainty over the future of the Draghi government did not fail to cause turbulence in the markets: the Milan Stock Exchange fell by more than 3 % on Thursday and Italy's cost of debt rose again, a sign of the ambient nervousness.

The spread, the closely watched gap between German and Italian interest rates n at ten, reached 218 points, up 6.08%, after rising to 224 points.