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Friday, February 26, 2021

Ex-ECB chief Draghi to be asked to form Italian government

ROME — Italian President Sergio Mattarella is to ask former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to form a government after talks between the previous coalition partners failed.

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Draghi — ECB chief from 2011 to 2019 and a former governor of the Bank of Italy — is set to visit the presidential palace on Wednesday to speak with the president.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stepped down on January 26 following disputes within the governing alliance over the post-pandemic economic recovery package.  

Conte, who is not a member of any political party but led an alliance of the center-left Democrats and the populist 5Star Movement, was forced to resign after former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pulled his small Italia Viva party from the coalition.

Renzi had criticized Conte’s blueprint for spending Italy’s €200 billion share of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund and his plan to manage it centrally.

After days of wrangling over a new government program and ministries, talks between the 5Stars, Democratic Party and Italia Viva broke down Tuesday.

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Mattarella said that the alternative — early elections — risked leaving Italy without a government for months at a time when the coronavirus crisis “requires a government that is fully functional.”

He said it was his “duty to appeal to all the political forces in parliament to give their confidence to a high-profile government able to deal promptly with the serious emergencies in progress.”

In a speech at the presidential palace, Mattarella said it was not possible to hold socially-distanced elections and warned that countries that had been forced to hold elections had seen an uptick in coronavirus cases.  

He also said the country could not afford to waste the next few months holding elections as the government had to agree the post-pandemic economic recovery plan with the EU, defeat the virus and manage the vaccination campaign.

“We need a government that is fully functional, not one with activity reduced to a minimum, as is inevitable during an electoral campaign.”  

“In April, the recovery plan-must be presented to the EU … We cannot miss this opportunity for our future.” 

More from …

Hannah Roberts

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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