Rome, Jul 20 (EFE).- Italian prime minister Mario Draghi lost parliamentary backing to govern on Wednesday after his former coalition partners, the 5-Star Movement, the right-wing Forza Italia led by Silvio Berlusconi, and the far-right League led by Matteo Salvini, withdrew their support.
The vote on a confidence motion was still ongoing on Wednesday evening but with the absence of M5S, FI and League, Draghi has lost his parliamentary majority and may not even reach the quorum required for a useful result.
Some M5S senators, however, were declaring themselves “non-voting present” rather than leaving the chamber so that the quorum could be reached, as the contrary would be unprecedented for a motion of confidence in an Italian government.
The prime minister left the Senate after learning of his partners’ intentions and is now expected to go before the head of state, Sergio Mattarella, to whom he resigned last week but who froze his resignation until the debate in parliament today.
The secretary general of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, who supported Draghi, lamented “this day of madness in which Parliament decided to turn against Italy” and predicted early elections.
“We have done everything possible to avoid it and support Draghi’s government. Italians will prove at the ballot box that they are wiser than their representatives,” he wrote on Twitter.
Draghi has led a national unity coalition since February 2021 that included almost all the parties in the Senate, except for Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia).
Last week a crisis broke out in his coalition after M5S did not vote for a confidence motion, disassociating itself from the rest of its partners, pushing Draghi to resign.
Mattarella, however, rejected his resignation and called on him to seek a solution in Parliament, which he did on Wednesday, but the clash between the right and M5S made that impossible.
Although Berlusconi and Salvini told the prime minister they would remain in the coalition, they did so only on the condition that the M5S be excluded, which Draghi was not willing to do, as he aspired to keep the same majority to see out the legislature in March 2023.
Italian media say that Draghi will wait for the vote in the Senate to be concluded before going to the Quirinal Palace in Rome, seat of the Head of State, to address the situation with Mattarella.
If Draghi formalizes his resignation, the head of state could instruct him to seek another parliamentary majority to complete the parliament session, give that task to another technical or political figure or call early elections.
If a political solution cannot be found, an election slated for spring will likely be brought forward.
In recent days, trade unions, employers, numerous associations of all kinds and even the Catholic Church had encouraged Draghi’s continuity due to the ongoing economic, energy and social crisis.
Italy is struggling with an energy crisis and soaring inflation. It also needs reforms to receive millions in pandemic recovery funds from the EU. EFE