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Mario Draghi, head of a unity government since February 2021 in Italy, wished to resign on Thursday after the boycott by the 5 Star Movement (M5S) of a vote of confidence on a text in the Senate. A resignation rejected by the Head of State who asked him to remain in his post. If nothing works out, early legislative elections could be organized to break the political deadlock.
After a year and five months at the helm of the executive, Mario Draghi finally came up against the political vicissitudes of a country where only Italian Rome is eternal. And if the government coalition does not regain its unity quickly, the only option will be to call early elections in the fall, said Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who left the M5S with around 60 elected members of the movement at the end of June to continue to support the action of Mario Draghi.
How did we get here? Here are five things to know about the crisis that led Draghi to present his resignation Thursday evening to President Sergio Mattarella, who refused it.
• Dissension within the national unity coalition
At the head of the Italian executive since February 2021, Mario Draghi succeeded Giuseppe Conte, leader of the 5 Star Movement, an anti-system formation created in the late 2000s and which has since largely returned to the ranks. And it is in particular the positioning of this group in Draghi’s grand coalition of national unity that is causing internal dissension, between supporters of Conte, the guardians of the party’s original doctrine, and Luigi Di Maio, head of diplomacy. , who is now fully playing the card of the former boss of the ECB.
These political tensions, coupled with personal rivalries, worsened with the Ukrainian crisis, Conte opposing the delivery of arms to kyiv. The M5S also believes that the government is not doing enough for the most modest and the ecological transition. Di Maio ended up slamming the door and founding his own party in early July.
Especially since at the same time, the M5S is facing a decline in popularity with its voters. 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%. After their rout in the partial local elections in the spring, which revealed their weak roots in the territories, they are looking for a new lease of life. Giuseppe Conte can count on the founding support of the movement, the former actor Beppe Grillo, for whom the elected 5 Stars are not there to pass the dishes: “The M5S makes M5S”, he says.
• A Roman incinerator at the heart of tensions
Rome has the sinister – and deserved – reputation of being a dirty city: garbage is picked up haphazardly and hordes of wild boar take advantage of this to market in the outlying districts. The former M5S mayor of the Italian capital, Virginia Raggi, tried to succeed, in vain. The authorities denounce the stranglehold of mafia groups on the collection network and the chronic absenteeism of agents.
Since then, a Democratic Party mayor has been elected. And with the government, the decision was made to build an incinerator. Or the famous text boycotted by the M5S in the Senate provides extraordinary powers to the mayor to bring the project to completion. Unacceptable for the M5S, which believes that this incinerator will pollute, cost a fortune and above all that it will not solve the immediate problem since it will take years to build it.
• Draghi retains the majority, why do you want to leave?
Even if the Covid-19 pandemic has exploded the strict deficit criteria defended by Brussels, Mario Draghi, a former central bank in Frankfurt, is perceived by the European Commission and the markets as a white knight of budgetary orthodoxy, a pledge rigor (or austerity according to its detractors) in a politically unstable and economically fragile country.
Only, at 74, this economist who has never sought an elective mandate does not want to be drawn into the traditional games of Italian politics. He was invested in his name, to save Italy from living “a Greek nightmare” after the pandemic which plunged the GDP of the third largest economy in the euro zone and deprived millions of workers of income. And if in the name of this vital emergency, he was welcomed into his team the carp and the rabbit, from the left to the League of Matteo Salvini, it is not to play playground referees.
>> To see: “Italy: the possible departure of the head of government Mario Draghi worries economic circles”
• What results for Mario Draghi?
Just under 200 billion euros between 2021 and 2026: this is the manna negotiated by Mario Draghi with his European partners to keep Italy afloat. No other pays received as much. Brussels has already disbursed 45.9 billion, as the reforms required in return have been undertaken, for example that of justice, one of the slowest and most inefficient in Europe.
“But many of the most delicate and politically controversial reforms are pending,” said Lorenzo Codogno, former chief economist at Italy’s Treasury. “He should have found the lowest common denominator to at least carry out the reforms planned by the recovery plan and to plan as fairly neutral. But bringing together such diverse (political, editor’s note) forces is an almost impossible mission”.