Mario Draghi, the former European Central Bank president, on Thursday (July 14) said he would quit as Italian prime minister, after the Five Star Movement (M5S), a key party in his broad coalition refused to participate in a confidence vote earlier in the day. The vote on a controversial cost of living bill passed in the Senate, but Draghi said:
“The pact of trust underlying the government has failed. “In recent days there has been the utmost commitment on my part to continue on the common path, also trying to meet the needs that have been advanced to me by the political forces,”
“As is evident from today’s debate and vote in parliament, this effort was not enough. From my inauguration speech I have always said that this executive would only go forward if there was a clear prospect of being able to carry out the government programme on which the political forces had voted their confidence. This compactness was fundamental to face the challenges of these months. These conditions no longer exist.”
Draghi’s broad government of “national unity” was formed in February 2021 with parties on both right and left to help Italy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis. But without the support of M5S, he argues that his government would become “political” and he has no mandate to lead such a cabinet.
“I will tender my resignation to the president of the republic this evening,” Draghi told the cabinet, according to a statement released by his office.
But Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, has rejected Draghi’s resignation, the Italian Presidency said in a statement. Mattarella instead asked Draghi to address the parliament in order to assess the political situation.
Italy, the third largest economy in the euro zone, is due to have parliamentary elections before June 2023, but the latest uncertainty in Rome could bring that forward.