Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, weakened by the defection of a party from his coalition, presented his resignation on Thursday evening, July 14, immediately rejected by President Sergio Mattarella, who asked him to count his troops in parliament.
“The President of the Republic did not accept the resignation of the President of the Council and invited him to present himself before Parliament (…) so that an assessment of the situation could take place”the presidency announced on Thursday evening.
National unity under threat
Mario Draghi had announced his intention to throw in the towel after the decision by the 5 Star Movement (M5S, antisystem), member of his coalition, to boycott a confidence vote in the Senate in the middle of the afternoon. “The majority of the national unity that this government has supported since its inception 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.
Except for the Fratelli d’Italia party (far right), the main parties represented in parliament joined the coalition, from the center left (Democratic Party, Italia Viva) to the League (far right, anti-immigration), via the party of Silvio Berlusconi Forza Italia (center right), and the Five Star Movement.
Tensions within the coalition
But the frictions with the M5s have not stopped, both within the party and within the government. And in accordance with the announcement made Wednesday evening by Giuseppe Conte, predecessor of Mario Draghi and current boss of the M5S, his party’s senators did not participate in the confidence vote that the executive had requested on a decree-law with measures around 23 billion. euro to help households and businesses cope with inflation.
The text is passed on. However, without the support of the M5S, the Prime Minister believes his government is a “Politics” and believes that he has not been given a mandate to head a cabinet of this nature, even though he does not need their votes, neither in the Chamber of Deputies nor in the Senate. “I have always said that this administration would only move forward if it had a clear prospect of carrying out the program” on which he was invested, he justified Thursday evening.
Towards a government of Draghi bis?
The head of state therefore refused to let him leave in the middle of the summer, risking putting Italy into a period of instability. Sergio Mattarella is also known to oppose the parliamentary elections, currently scheduled for 2023, which will be brought forward to the fall.
This decision allows: “Send Mario Draghi back to parliament to see if there is still a majority for this government”Lorenzo Castellani, a professor of political science at Luiss University in Rome, told AFP.
The Democratic Party leader, one of the key members of the coalition, immediately rejoiced on Twitter, promising “to ensure that Parliament reaffirms its confidence in the Draghi government and that Italy emerges as quickly as possible from the spiraling trap it has fallen into for the past few hours”
At the origin of the crisis, the Purchasing Power Support Act also includes a measure to facilitate the construction of an incinerator in Rome, which the M5S opposes. “We have to respond to the growing social malaise in a clear and decisive way. The irresponsible are not us, they are the ones who don’t answer the country.”Mariolina Castellone, head of the M5S senators, pleaded Thursday in the Senate.