by N. Peter Kramer
The technocrat Mario Draghi has resigned as Italy’s prime minister, a year-and-a-half after he was appointed as unelected head of a unity government. He stand down after three parties in his government refused to back him in a confidence vote. President Sergio Matterella asked Draghi to remain as caretaker leader and early elections are expected in October. Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, is already being tipped to win.
In February last year, Draghi was given the task of guiding Italy through the Covid pandemic and economic recovery bolstered by a big EU package conditional on major reforms.
Draghi tendered already his resignation a week ago when the populist Five Star Movement in his broad-based government refused to back him in a vote of confidence. President Matterella asked him to stay in post, and after days of silence, Draghi told the Senate he would continue, if the political parties participating in his government were prepared to back a strong cohesive government. After several hours, three of the parties decided they would not back him in a vote of confidence: the centre-right Forza Italia of Berlusconi, the far-right League of Salvini and the Five Star Movement.
The Milan stock market fell for a second day in a row. Another key indicator closely watched in Italy, called the spread, was up more than 7%: that is the gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds.
The Brothers of Italy, a party that didn’t participate in Draghi’s unity government, is topping the opinion polls, and its leader Giorgia Meloni is viewed as a possible prime minister. ‘I have my own ideas on how this nation should be governed, what should be done, what its industrial strategy should be’. But also the Lega and Forza Italia benefit from the political crisis.