New Delhi: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi handed in his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella Thursday, after efforts to keep the country’s coalition government together fell through. The 74-year-old prime minister’s departure marks the collapse of Italy’s third government in three years.
In a statement, Mattarella’s office said that the head of state had “taken note” of the resignation and asked Draghi to remain in a caretaker capacity.
According to reports, analysts say that Mattarella would most probably dissolve parliament and call elections for as early as the end of September, although the official statement did not specify this.
The former European Central Bank Chief had offered his resignation to Mattarella earlier this week after the Five Star Movement (M5S), one of his coalition partners, failed to back him in a vote on a €26 billion package to tackle the cost of living. Mattarella, however, rejected his resignation and asked him to go to Parliament and try to win a vote of confidence.
In this vein, Draghi gave a speech to the senate making a plea for unity and highlighting issues facing Italy ranging from social inequality and rising prices to the war in Ukraine.
However, the three coalition parties — Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigrant Lega Nord and the populist Five Star Movement — snubbed this vote as well, refusing to back Draghi and forcing him to resign.
Surveys have claimed that a coalition, including Lega Nord and Forza Italia, led by the far-right Brothers of Italy, could grab an easy majority in the event of early elections.
The resignation is expected to bring in a period of uncertainty for Italy, the European Union’s third-largest economy, which had seen political stability under Draghi for the last 15 months.
Concerns about Italy’s soaring debt and record inflation have been exacerbated by the possibility of tough coalition negotiations due to a fragmented Parliament.
European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni tweeted that the “irresponsible” move against Draghi could lead to a “perfect storm” and “difficult months ahead” for Italy.
Draghi has reportedly been crucial in receiving pandemic recovery funds amounting to almost 200 billion euros. He also played a role in EU sanctions and supporting Italian households dealing with higher consumer prices in the context of Russia’s invasion.
Also read: Italian President rejects PM Mario Draghi’s resignation