Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi won a vote of confidence in the Senate, but it was an empty victory after being ostracized by three of his key coalition allies in a vote of virtually no prospects. any for you. unity government survival.
Wednesday’s vote went 95-38 in favor of Draghi’s government in the 315-member Senate after lawmakers canceled the mass roll call.
Draghi’s swift unraveling of the 17-month coalition could prompt President Sergio Mattarella to dissolve parliament, opening the way for an early election, possibly as early as the end of September.
Just before the vote, representatives of the populists 5 star movementConservatives from former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia party and right-wing senators from Matteo Salvini’s Lega (League) party vowed to skip roll call.
Last week, Draghi offered to resign after losing support from the 5-Star Movement, a major partner of the coalition. But Mattarella rejected the offer, asking him to return to parliament to assess his support.
After hours of debating his fate on Wednesday, Draghi asked the Senate to vote on a measure of confidence calling for him to stay in office.
“The only way, if we want to stay together, is to rebuild this treaty, with courage, forgiveness and trust,” Draghi said in an uncompromising address to the Senate. added that many Italians want the coalition to continue until early elections. next year.
Draghi has said many times that he sees no alternative to dominance other than the unusually large coalition he leads.
The crisis comes at a difficult time for debt-ridden Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, where borrowing costs have risen sharply as the European Central Bank begins tightening monetary policy. his bad.
In early 2021, Mattarella mined Draghi forming a government of national unity, a group of parties from the right, the left and the 5-Star Movement to guide Italy in restarting the economy amid the pandemic and related reforms of about 200 billion euros ($203.6 billion) in the European Union’s recovery fund.
European Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter that the “irresponsible” move against Draghi could lead to a “perfect storm” and “difficult months ahead” for Italy.
The head of Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the only major party in the ruling coalition to back Draghi in a confidence vote, said parliament had gone against the will of the people.
Enrico Letta tweeted: “In these crazy days, Congress decided against Italy. “The Italians will show themselves at the ballot box as wiser than their representatives.”
In the last week, 14,000 mayors, a doctor’s association, other lobbying groups and tens of thousands of citizens signed the “Draghi Stay” petition calling on him not to resign.
In recent weeks, Draghi has repeatedly faced ultimatums from 5-Star leader Giuseppe Conte, his predecessor in the prime minister’s term, as to conditions for staying in government. Populists have criticized Italy’s military assistance to Ukraine, as has Salvini. That prompted a lawmaker last week to describe Draghi’s departure as possibly “a gift” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Assuming Draghi offers to step down again, Mattarella could hold a round of consultations with party leaders before deciding on his next course of action.
The president can see if parties can agree to a limited, short-term government by a non-political figure, like the current finance minister, to help ensure that lawmakers can pass it. annual budget, whose first draft is due in mid-October. But with a host of Italian parties already declaring their readiness for an early election, that seems unlikely.
Voter opinion polls have pointed to neck-and-neck percentages for Letta and Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Italy’s far-right Brotherhood, the current main opposition party. If Meloni continues to work with her traditional allies, Salvini and Berlusconi, in an electoral coalition, she has a good chance of achieving her goal of becoming Italy’s first female prime minister.
Letta’s Democrats believed in an electoral coalition with the 5-Stars, but the split in the confidence vote made that difficult.