Italy: Mario Draghi resigns, President Sergio Mattarella refuses

Italy: Mario Draghi resigns, President Sergio Mattarella refuses

At the origin of the crisis, the breakup of the Five Star movement, a member of the coalition, which boycotted a vote of confidence in the Senate. The President of the Council should address the parliamentarians on Wednesday July 20.

Mario Draghi at the last European summit on June 24 in Brussels. JOHANNA GERON / REUTERS

Those who believed Mario Draghi installed until the spring of 2023 as president of the Italian council were brutally disillusioned on Thursday. Because Italy has once again plunged into a political crisis whose outcome is still uncertain. Thursday evening, the president of the council Mario Draghi submitted his resignation to the president of the Republic Sergio Mattarella. But he immediately rejected her. And expressly asked him to stand before parliament to measure the support his current government could still benefit from. Because at a time when Italy has to manage several crises, including an energy crisis and the return of inflation which is impoverishing its population, and when it has to carry out a 200 billion euro investment plan with the he providential aid from Europe, Sergio Mattarella intends to do everything to ensure that the government of Mario Draghi, which has restored Italy’s credit abroad, holds out until the end of the legislature next May.

Thus, Wednesday, July 20, Mario Draghi, who has not formally resigned since it was refused, should address the parliamentarians who will have to take their responsibilities. Five days during which the destiny of Italy can change. Because we will then know if the large majority on which his government has relied since February 2021 can still function, despite the approach of the elections which push everyone to play their part. Or if, in the opposite case, the President of the Republic will have to call early elections in the fall.

At the origin of the crisis, the rupture of the Five Star movement which had supported the “government of national unity” when it was created in February 2021. After days of standoffs, verbal threats and fruitless mediations between Mario Draghi and the leader of the movement, Giuseppe Conte, the M5S senators decide not to vote for the aid plan of 23 billion euros in favor of households and businesses, to which was attached a vote of confidence in the government. With a very minor pretext in the light of the real stakes for the whole country: the presence in the decree-law submitted to the vote of a standard which would allow Rome to have a waste incinerator, which they consider expensive , polluting and inefficient.

But behind this break, lies above all the desperate attempt of a movement, which went from 34% of the votes cast in 2018 to 11% of the voting intentions in the next legislative elections, to recover some of its voters who had abstained. “It’s been months since the Five Star leaders planned the opening of a crisis to put an end to the Draghi government”, explained Thursday Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs and former leader of the movement who left him a year ago. months to found a new parliamentary group, IPF for Insieme per il Futuro. And he explained: “They were counting on nine months of electoral campaign to go up in the polls, but thus they condemned the country to fall into the economic and social precipice.” A strategy deemed as incomprehensible as it is risky, as the movement is likely to come out the big loser in the next elections. Anyway, the M5S senators therefore chose Thursday noon to leave the hemicycle at the time of the vote.
Large majority

If confidence in the government was nevertheless voted by 172 votes, the large majority on which Mario Draghi had supported his government no longer existed. And Mario Draghi, who had warned the entire political class of the consequences of this rupture, immediately took note of it, and in accordance with what he had announced, went up to the Quirinal to speak with the President of the Republic.

Gathering his council of ministers on Thursday evening to announce his resignation, Mario Draghi, thus justified his decision: “The majority of national unity which has supported this government since its creation is no longer there. The pact of trust at the base of government action has disappeared.” The chairman of the council says he has “sought to continue on the common path, trying to respond to the requests that have been addressed to me by the political forces.” In fact, Giuseppe Conte had sent him a week ago a nine-point note of his conditions for the Five Star movement to remain in the majority: among which the establishment of a minimum wage (which does not exist in Italy) , and a set of measures in favor of the poorest households.

Also, summoning the social parties three days ago, the Draghi government undertook to present by the end of July an income policy for the benefit of the most disadvantaged workers, including the establishment of a minimum wage and an update of collective agreements. However, Draghi refused to give in to Giuseppe Conte’s request to finance additional aid by increasing the deficit. “This vote in parliament shows that this effort has not been sufficient”, observes Mario Draghi, who recalls having “always said that this executive would only go ahead if there was a clear prospect of being able to implement implement the government program on which the political forces had voted confidence. This unity has been fundamental in facing the challenges of these months.

These conditions are no longer met today. Two days earlier at a press conference, he swore that there would be no other Draghi government.

 

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