Prime Minister Mario Draghi has resigned for the second time as head of the Italian government.
“In light of yesterday’s events in the Senate, I would like to adjourn the session. I intend to go to the Quirinal Palace and announce my decisions,” Draghi said in a statement to members of the Chamber of Deputies, the upper house of Italy’s parliament.
Afterwards, Draghi had a half-hour meeting with President Sergio Mattarella, before the head of state’s office announced that the decision on Draghi’s resignation had been considered.
However, on July 14, the President of Italy refused to accept the Prime Minister’s resignation.
Draghi announced his resignation after the populist 5-Star Movement party refused to participate in the government coalition, leaving Draghi’s coalition government on the verge of collapse. Currently, the populist party is experiencing difficult times: their popularity rating has fallen significantly, and the leadership is divided due to the war in Ukraine. For example, on June 21, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced that he was leaving his 5-Star Movement party, which he had previously criticized for undermining the government’s efforts to support Ukraine.
Di Maio cited the ambiguity of the 5-Star Movement party’s position on Russian military aggression in Ukraine as the main reason for leaving the party: “There is nothing to hesitate in the face of Putin’s crimes. Now history is being made in Ukraine, and in it, accordingly, one must take the right side.”
Together with Di Maio, 60 deputies have so far left the party.
The leadership of the party, led by former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, had to decide whether to remain in the coalition – just before the vote on the so-called “assistance decree”, which involves the allocation of billions of dollars to families and companies to curb the consequences of the energy crisis and inflation. However, Conte announced that his party would not take part in the vote.
Draghi’s resignation will almost certainly pave the way for early elections in October. The Italian Senate on Wednesday supported a resolution expressing confidence in Draghi’s government. But he received only 95 votes, while the Senate has 321 senators. This is the lowest result the government has achieved in this legislature.
Right-wing parties – Forward Italy, 5-Star Movement, and League – refused to vote for the resolution altogether and boycotted its consideration in parliament. This meant that there may not be enough votes to declare a quorum in the Senate to ensure its decisions are legally binding.
Meanwhile, right-wing parties are in favor of dissolving the government and holding early elections, where they hope to improve their results.
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