Italy: Draghi throws in the towel after the defection of a party from his coalition

Italy: Draghi throws in the towel after the defection of a party of his coalition


ROME | Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, weakened by the decision of the 5 Star Movement (M5S, antisystem), member of his coalition, to boycott a vote of confidence in the Senate, announced that he would present his resignation on Thursday evening.  

“This evening I will submit my resignation to the President of the Republic” Sergio Mattarella, declared Mr. Draghi in the Council of Ministers.

“The majority of national unity which has supported this government since its inception no longer exists. The pact of trust on which the action of this government is based has disappeared,” he explained.

Mario Draghi, former head of the European Central Bank, had taken office in early 2021 to build a coalition of “national unity” broad and strong enough to overcome the pandemic emergency and the ensuing economic crisis.


Apart from Georgia Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia party (extreme right), the main parties represented in parliament joined the coalition, from the centre-left (Democratic Party, Italia Viva) to the League (extreme right, anti-immigration), passing through 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 of the party or in the 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.

However, without the support of the M5S, Mr. Dragi considers that his government is becoming “political” and considers not having been mandated to lead a cabinet of this nature, even though it does not need their votes, neither in the Chamber of Deputies nor in the Senate.

“Since my inauguration speech in parliament I have always said that this government would have continued only if it had a clear perspective of carrying out the program of government on which the political forces had voted confidence (…) These conditions 'exist any more today,' he justified on Thursday evening.

Draghi bis?

But will Draghi really throw in the towel? Will the head of state agree to let him leave in the middle of summer, at the risk of bringing Italy into a period of even greater instability?

“It is likely that Mattarella will not accept his resignation and will ask Draghi to ask for a vote of confidence next week” in parliament, said Francesco Galietti, an analyst from the Policy Sonar firm interviewed by AFP.

< p>The legislative elections are currently scheduled for 2023 and Mr. Mattarella does not wish to bring them forward to the fall.

At the origin of the crisis, the decree-law on aid for the government The purchase also contains a measure to facilitate the construction of a garbage incinerator in Rome, which is 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, if not above all, has 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 at ten years, reached 218 points, up 6.08%, after rising to 224 points.