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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi pushed out by his main allies

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, July 21st 2022 à 15:45 | Read 274 times

Mario Draghi failed to convince the main senators of his majority (photo: Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Italy)
Mario Draghi failed to convince the main senators of his majority (photo: Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Italy)
ITALY. By refusing, late on Wednesday 20 July 2022 in the Senate, to grant their confidence to the President of the Italian Council of Ministers Mario Draghi, three parties of the government coalition provoked a new political crisis.

In his speech to the senators, he had been clear. He began by recalling his record: "You deserve credit for these results, thanks to your willingness to put aside your differences and work for the good of the country... Italy is strong when it knows how to be united (...) Unfortunately, as the months went by, with the distancing of the parties and their division... the willingness to move forward together faded, and with it the capacity to act effectively". He then went on to hit the nail on the head, without sparing his allies: "Italy does not need cosmetic confidence, which disappears when faced with inconvenient measures. It needs a new pact of trust, sincere and concrete, like the one that has allowed us to change the country for the better so far."

Mario Draghi called for "a really strong and coherent government and a Parliament that accompanies it with conviction". His tough tone, his assertive will to pursue reforms despite disagreements on them, were not well digested by his partners in government.

Too many abstentions to remain in office

The Five Star Movement (M5S - populists), the League (far right) and Forza Italia (Silvio Berlusconi's right wing party) preferred not to participate in the vote. The last two did not even attend the speech. Only the centre and the left, including the Democratic Party (PD), are left alongside the President of the Council.

Mario Draghi's motion of confidence therefore obtained only ninety-five votes in favour (the theoretical absolute majority is 161 seats) and thirty-eight against. It therefore passed, but there were too many abstentions for the President of the Council to ignore it. All the more so as he is dropped by the three most important parties in his coalition. Legally, he can continue his work. But politically...

The President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, had refused his resignation on 14 July 2022. This time, it will be difficult for him to keep his job. While he was considered the saviour of the government by accepting his post on 13 February 2021 in the middle of a health and economic crisis. And above all by succeeding in the tour de force of gathering such a heterogeneous coalition around his name, ranging from the left to the extreme right. The state of grace of the man the press called "Super Mario" did not last.

Towards new elections

The next parliamentary elections were not scheduled until spring 2023. After a speech to the Chamber of Deputies on the morning of Thursday 21 July 2022, the President of the Council is due to meet Sergio Mattarella. No doubt to propose his resignation once again. Even if the calls for Mario Draghi to keep his post are multiplying urbi et orbi.

It will then be up to the President of the Republic to accept this departure and then to dissolve the two chambers and call the Italians to the polls in early October 2022. Mario Draghi would then be able to carry on with current affairs until his successor is appointed.

The suspended Italian Prime Minister had already had the disappointment of not being elected President of the Republic at the end of January 2022, even though he was widely favoured and Sergio Mattarella (80 years old) had indicated that he would not be a candidate for his succession. The majority of the 1009 electors (deputies, senators, regional delegates) preferred Mario Draghi to remain at the head of the government. They considered the former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) as the most competent to implement the reforms promised in exchange for the €191.5 billion European recovery fund.

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