Italy, before the vertigo of anticipated elections when not supporting the partners of Government to Draghi | International

The Italian Parliament, a wild and self-destructive animal like few others, completed its last lethal work on Wednesday and liquidated the legislature, pushing Prime Minister Mario Draghi to resign. The violent event has many parents. But it was the right-wing parties, Forza Italia and the League, that gave the Executive of which they were a part the final touch. Both formations refused to vote in the Senate on the confidence motion with which the prime minister had agreed to reconsider his resignation, presented last Thursday. The 5-Star Movement (M5S) was later added to that refusal, the party that originally caused this crisis and that charged heavily against Draghi. A grotesque and damaging spectacle at a very delicate moment for Italy and for Europe that ends 17 months of mandate in which the country had regained its international leadership.

Draghi did not wait for the result of the vote, which due to lack of participation could be considered null. He got 95 yeses to 38 noes. But it didn’t matter, because it wasn’t a matter of arithmetic, but of probing if he still had unified support. The prime minister got into his official car and drove off. His entourage has announced that he will not go to the Quirinal Palace, seat of the Presidency of the Republic, until Thursday morning. It will be after appearing in the Chamber of Deputies, where the vote and his speech will be repeated due to institutional correctness. He is expected to be after that ritual – if there were no unexpected script twist – when he will present his resignation. And the head of state will probably have no choice but to accept it this time and dissolve the Chambers. He remains to resolve the question of whether he will seek a formula to save the reforms started by the Draghi Executive and maintain the stability of the country until the next budget law, scheduled for the end of October. Otherwise, he will call elections for the last week of September or the first week of October.

Draghi, visibly angry and disappointed in his reply, when the worst case scenario was almost inevitable, he tried one last time. “Today I had two possibilities. Confirm my resignation and leave without going through the vote of confidence. But the support I have seen in the country is unprecedented and impossible to ignore. That has led me to re-propose the coalition pact and submit it to your vote. It is you who decide. So no request for full powers ”, he launched to those who accused him of organizing the session to arrogate to himself a power that the polls had not conferred on him. But it was already too late. La Liga and Forza Italia, annoyed by their severe intervention in the morning and convinced that the scenario of early elections would favor them, had already made their decision. The ship was sinking. The M5S did not want to be outdone, and also refused to support Draghi. The legendary former president of the European Central Bank went like this in just six days from resigning out of dignity to being fired. The show starts now. But, as Michel Platini warned, when the acrobat falls, the clowns usually enter.

Matteo Renzi, leader of Italia Viva, warned about it in his turn to speak. “Nothing will be the same tomorrow in Italy.” The hype has some real points. The staging of Wednesday in the Senate leaves the image of Italy very touched. But the scheme of forces will also change. Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, one of the promoters of the rupture, will break into pieces. This same Wednesday the resignations began. Half of the party, invoking moderation and their membership in the European People’s Party, was stunned by what had happened. There was an attempt at mediation with Il Cavaliere until the last moment, but the part of his party that most influences his decisions pushed him to support the populist parties and bring down the Executive of which he was a part. A surprising decision given the pending commitments that Italy has with the EU, the pending reforms to receive the funds from the recovery plan (230,000 million euros) and the war in Ukraine, in which Italy has played a fundamental role from the beginning.

Mario Draghi leaves the Senate after the debate, this Wednesday.
Mario Draghi leaves the Senate after the debate, this Wednesday.ANDREAS SOLARO (AFP)

The morning had started better for Draghi. The climate was optimistic before Draghi’s appearance at 9.30. Italy’s risk premium fell early in the morning and the stock market showed no signs of concern. Draghi could not ignore the enormous pressure he has received not to resign. From Brussels to Washington, passing through the president of Ukraine, Volodímir Zelenski, they asked him these days to reverse the decision to resign made on Thursday of last week. So it was. The former president of the ECB, in a long and dense speech in the Senate, reviewed the great works of his Executive in the last 17 months, pointed out the reasons for the rupture and the need to rebuild national unity to move forward. He attributed his change of position to the enormous popular support received in the last few hours, but he also conditioned it to that of the parties.

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The Prime Minister outlined the pending challenges that remain for this Executive, as some of his best allies had advised him in recent days, and was open to completing the work if the parties signed his roadmap. He presented a true government program that exposed the formations. Take it or leave it, he came to tell you. “Italy does not need a façade of confidence that fades at every uncomfortable move. She needs a new pact of sincere and concrete trust. Parties, parliamentarians, are you ready to rebuild this pact?” He asked them three times, before questioning them again: “Are you ready to confirm the effort you have made in the first months?”

Recovery plan and reforms

The prime minister asked to complete the post-pandemic recovery plan and the reforms required by the European Union to continue injecting the agreed funds. He also referred to international affairs, especially support for Ukraine, based on continuing to send weapons (a measure that the 5 Star Movement rejects). He was also unexpectedly harsh with the position of La Liga on some issues and warned that he will tamper with the Citizen Income, the star measure of the crickets this legislature. Draghi’s aggressiveness caused some surprise in the ranks of both formations, who avoided applauding like the rest.

Draghi had appeared after 9:30 at the Madama Palace, seat of the Italian Senate, and got straight to the point. “Last Thursday I presented my resignation to the President of the Republic. I made the decision because the majority that supported this government since its inception was broken. The president rejected the resignation and asked me to explain here today to Parliament and to all Italians the reasons for a hard-fought and due election”. Draghi reasoned his decision on the basis that the only democratic legitimacy that a prime minister who has not passed through the polls can have is “the greatest possible support from Parliament.” “Especially if you have to make decisions that deeply affect the lives of citizens,” he added. “The only way, if we want to continue together, is to rebuild this pact from the beginning, with courage, altruism and credibility. The Italians ask for it above all, ”he insisted. But by that time, his traveling companions had probably already sold him.

Italy, scene of 67 governments in the last 76 years, is now facing a new crisis scenario. The country is used to living in an institutionalized chaos that has allowed it to survive for decades by postponing reforms and major renovations. But this time, in the middle of a war and with an economic scenario of extreme volatility, the rupture is presented as one of the most absurd, inopportune and self-destructive in recent times.

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