Brussels (Brussels Morning) Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella plans to hand the mandate for forming a new, technocrat government to former European Central Bank head Mario Draghi, in a bid to resolve the prevailing government crisis started last month when Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was forced to resign following the collapse of his ruling coalition, Deutsche Welle reported.
Conte lost the majority in the Senate as a junior party in his coalition, former PM Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva (IV), withdrew its support for the government, citing disagreements over Conte’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and use of EU emergency aid funds.
Mattarella tasked the speaker of the lower house of Parliament, Roberto Fico, with mediating between the former coalition partners to see if a compromise solution could be reached to avoid snap elections amidst the dual coronavirus and economic crises that currently grip Italy.
Mutual blame game
However,on Tuesday evening, Fico informed Mattarella that the talks had proved unproductive. Renzi was unable to reach agreement with the two larger parties in the coalition – the anti-establishment populists 5 Stars Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
ANSA reports that Renzi blames the two parties for the failure, claiming they refused to give any ground in the negotiations, while PD and M5S are accusing Renzi of trying to increase the influence of his minor party in any possible future government by asking for more ministerial seats.
Good odds for Draghi
Renzi has previously hinted that he would be willing to support a government headed by Draghi. However, some M5S representatives have already stated they would not support the former banker since they claim he represents the establishment they were elected to oppose. On the other hand, as the populist party is now polling much lower than in previous elections, some members of parliament are reluctant to face new elections and would be open to staying in power with a new PM.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday night, Mattarella said the country could not currently afford to have a political campaign and early elections. Exercising his powers as arbiter in cases of government crises, Mattarella therefore opted to seek a technocratic, non-political government that could garner wider support in both houses of Parliament and bridge the gap until the next scheduled elections in May 2023.