Italian prime minister Mario Draghi to resign after coalition partner snub

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The Guardian

The Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, has resigned after the Five Star Movement (M5S) a key party in his broad coalition, snubbed a crucial confidence vote.

The confidence vote passed in the senate on Thursday, but Draghi had repeatedly said his administration could not continue without M5S’s support and that he would not accept ultimatums.

The former European Central Bank chief met the president, Sergio Mattarella, after the vote and was expected to offer his resignation.

The Five Star Movement, led by former prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, boycotted the vote on a €26bn cost of living bill, arguing that the funds set aside to help households and businesses hit by inflation and rising energy costs were insufficient. The bill also included a provision allowing Rome authorities to build a huge incinerator for the Italian capital’s rubbish, a project that M5S has always opposed.

Conte has been threatening to pull M5S, which has lost half its support since emerging as the biggest party in Italy in the 2018 general elections, from Draghi’s broad coalition for weeks.

“Today was the first episode, and it seems the saga will have its climax next week,” said Francesco Galietti, the founder of Policy Sonar, a consultancy in Rome. “Draghi managed to get the controversial bill passed but the problem is that M5S abstained. So he has gone to Mattarella, probably to offer his resignation. In any case, there’ll probably be a confidence vote [on a new Draghi mandate] next week, and we need to see if M5S will support that.”

M5S has struggled to revive its fortunes under Conte’s leadership. The party has lost dozens of parliamentarians and its former leader Luigi Di Maio, the current foreign minister, split from the group last month, taking more with him.

Analysts say the latest move was mostly owing to the turmoil within the ailing party rather than motivated by any meaningful policy differences with Draghi’s administration.

Draghi was appointed to head up a unity government in February 2021, with the main goal to lead Italy out of the coronavirus pandemic and revive its economy.

A government collapse could prompt early elections, possibly in the autumn.

More details soon …

July 14, 2022 at 10:52PM Angela Giuffrida

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