ROME: The big maneuvers began on Friday around the government led by Mario Draghi, whose resignation was refused the day before by President Sergio Mattarella but whose fate will be decided on Wednesday in parliament.
Mr. Draghi, who wanted to resign after the non-participation of the 5 Star Movement (M5S, antisystem), member of the ruling coalition, in a vote of confidence requested by the government, was “invited to appear before parliament (…) so that an assessment of the situation takes place”, announced the presidency on Thursday evening.
Mario Draghi due to go to Algiers on Monday, this decisive session has been set for Wednesday.
“Mr. Draghi will give his speech in parliament on Wednesday following a major, unprecedented agreement on Algerian gas, which will make him a kind of hero of emancipation from Russia”, so that those voting against his government will be perceived as “Russian puppets”, analyzed for AFP Francesco Galietti, head of the think tank Policy Sonar.
In the meantime, each camp is preparing its weapons, an increasingly wide gap separating the parliamentary groups supporting Mario Draghi from those in favor of early elections.
The Democratic Party (PD, center-left) and Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister and leader of the small centrist party Italia Viva (IV), are trying by all means to convince Mr. Draghi to remain at the head of the government until the elections planned for early 2023.
“Now we have five working days left for Parliament to confirm confidence in the Draghi government and for Italy to emerge from this dramatic development,” said PD leader Enrico Letta.
An opinion shared by Francesco Bellardi, a 58-year-old architect interviewed by AFPTV in the center of Rome: “I hope there will be a second Draghi government. In my opinion, they will find a solution so as not to put end of the legislature”.
In the background hovers the fear of left and centrist leaders of having to face early elections for which all the polls give the right largely winning, even if it is very divided.
The parties of the government majority, Forza Italia (center right) of Silvio Berlusconi and the League (extreme right) of Matteo Salvini, are tempted to go to the polls, but would have difficulty explaining to their electorate the refusal to vote for confidence to the Draghi government as Italy has to deal with inflation (+8% over one year), the new wave of Covid and the consequences of the war in Ukraine.
The Fratelli d’Italia party (FDI, extreme right), in opposition, pushes on the other hand in favor of early elections.
The right would start as the big favourite, but only if it remains united. But the very fate of the Draghi government divides it, which makes a common strategy difficult.
According to a poll carried out by the Demopolis Institute and made public on Friday, 65% of Italians want the Draghi government to continue its experiment until the end of the legislature, while 27% are in favor of early elections, the rest of those interviewed not speaking out.
“Several political leaders believe that early elections would be a desirable outcome because the government has practically lost its ability to adopt new reforms and make politically difficult choices,” said Lorenzo Codogno, Italy’s former chief treasury economist and professor. invited to the London School of Economics.
And what about the 5 Star Movement, at the origin of the crisis and considered as a pestiferous by the other parties? Nothing has filtered officially on the meeting of its National Council which was held late Thursday evening, and its deputies must meet on Saturday.
The political crisis has rekindled fears of a surge in the country’s borrowing rates which could prove explosive for the euro zone. The spread, the closely watched difference between German and Italian ten-year interest rates, rose to 225 points on Friday.
“The arrival of Mario Draghi to power in Rome, crowned with his reputation as the savior of the euro zone, had been seen by the markets as a miracle”, commented to AFP Gilles Moëc, chief economist of the Axa group. “Any signal indicating that Draghi will not survive the 2023 legislative elections, or even leave power before, is a cause for concern for the markets”.