Italian President accepts Draghi’s resignation

Mattarella will meet this afternoon with the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate

The elections are scheduled to be held in September

Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella on Thursday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, a day after he again lost the support of his government partners in the context of a new question of confidence in the Senate.

The secretary general of the Italian Presidency, Ugo Zampetti, has indicated in a brief appearance before the press from the Quirinal Palace that Mattarella has received Draghi earlier in the day and has “taken note” of his resignation, the second in a week. Thus, he explained that “the Government remains in office to manage current affairs” until a new Executive is formed.

This morning, Draghi has conveyed to the senators that he was on his way to the Quirinal to speak with the president, but not before meeting with the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, and the president of the Senate, Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati. He also received a round of applause from the senators, for which he expressed his gratitude. “Bankers also have a heart,” he pointed out.

The country’s head of state is scheduled to receive the presidents of the two chambers of Parliament this afternoon, as indicated in Article 88 of the Constitution. Casellati will attend at 16.30 and Fico at 17.00, according to information from ‘La Repubblica’ newspaper. Afterwards, Mattarella will address the nation.

Draghi has declined to speak before the Chamber of Deputies, as planned, and instead has handed over a speech to Fico to be read before the deputies when the session of the Lower House of Parliament resumes, according to government sources.

Likewise, the Council of Ministers will hold a meeting throughout the afternoon to draw up a ‘road map’ and address the functions and steps ahead for the Executive.

Sources close to the matter have indicated that the elections are scheduled to be held next September, although talks are currently focused on two dates: the 18th and the 25th of that month. The authorities are, however, shuffling the times at their disposal to ensure that Italians outside the country have enough time to send in their ballots.

If Mattarella takes this Thursday the decision to dissolve the Parliament, it would be impossible to hold the elections on October 2 – a date that was first considered – since it would exceed the 70 days established by the Italian Constitution to call elections in case the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are dissolved.

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CONTE REGRETS THE ATTACKS AGAINST THE FORMATION

For his part, the former prime minister and president of the 5 Star Movement, Giuseppe Conte, has regretted that the formation “always has to play defense because many political forces attack our measures.”

“We take responsibility for our actions (…) Yesterday we considered that it was better to remove that which annoyed rather than vote against,” he said during an assembly attended by the party’s deputies.

In this sense, he has indicated that they are looking for “external support” and has clarified that there have been conversations in this direction. However, he has qualified that “then, Draghi intervened in the chamber and everything went down the drain. It was the center-right that broke everything,” he said.

Conte has asserted that “they want all the deputies of the 5 Star Movement out,” while the party only “asks for respect.” “We make real requests, we ask for a confrontation, but it was the prime minister who did not defend us”, he has underlined.

For him, the decision not to support Draghi was “almost obligatory” due to the “lack of answers”. “There was no mention of precariousness, nor of the minimum wage,” he has insisted during a meeting that lasted about an hour.

The leader of the far-right party The League and former Interior Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, has convened his team to address economic issues, although he also plans to meet with parliamentarians and members of the government.

“After the chaos unleashed by the 5 Star Movement (…) there are emergencies in energy and other issues such as pensions, taxes and European funds,” he has argued.

The leader of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, and one of the main defenders of Draghi’s continuity, has stressed that “those who did not give the vote of confidence yesterday to Draghi today cannot applaud him.” Thus, he warned that “yesterday’s actions will have serious consequences in the elections” since “Italians will choose on the basis of what happened yesterday”.

Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio has blamed the internal crisis in the government on “those who flirt with (Vladimir) Putin.” “It is not by chance that the Government has fallen because of two parties that flirt with Putin,” he has asserted before adding that “the sooner the elections the better.” “Let’s at least try to save the Budgets”, he continued.

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However, Di Maio has stressed the importance of “taking forward Draghi’s agenda” and has confirmed that he will not support “those who have scuppered this Executive.” “The agenda cannot fizzle out. Many people will take it forward after the next electoral process,” he said.

In turn, he has stated that the government’s reforms “failed due to electoral opportunism” and has described the reforms promoted by Draghi as “courageous”. “This is what has been missing, courage to move forward, to try things,” he concluded.

On the other hand, the former prime minister and president of Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi, has announced that he is “ready to throw himself into the field of combat” and has expressed that he will “go on television.”

“I am ready for an election campaign. In the next few days I will return to television (…) This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Now the center-right will have the opportunity to return to government,” he has emphasized.

SECOND RESIGNATION IN A WEEK

The first resignation submitted now a week ago was rejected by Mattarella, who invited Draghi to meet with the different parliamentary groups and members of the government in order to get new endorsements and avoid a new political crisis in Italy.

However, on Wednesday night the country relived a situation similar to that of the previous week, when Draghi pulled through a vote vital for his government, although his ally 5 Star Movement did not attend the meeting.

Since then, the government has been cracking until the senators have withdrawn their support for Draghi, who had made the backing of the chamber a condition for continuing at the head of the Executive. His government partners were again absent.

The head of the Italian government had shown himself ready to continue at the head of his functions as long as the disputes within the government coalition were solved. “A firm and cohesive government is necessary,” he said.

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