(Update: adds dissolution of parliament)
Rome, Jul 21 (EFE).- Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi resigned on Thursday after failing to secure support from three key coalition partners in a confidence vote.
“First of all, thank you, thank you for everything,” Draghi told Parliament, where he was greeted with applause before meeting with president Sergio Mattarella, who accepted his resignation.
“Even central bankers have a heart, thank you for this and for all the work we have done over the past few months,” the former head of the European Central Bank added.
Draghi’s resignation comes after three partners in his ruling alliance — Matteo Salvini’s far-right League (Lega), Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Giuseppe Conte’s populist 5-Star Movement (M5S) — withdrew their support during a vote of confidence Wednesday.
Draghi will remain in office in an interim capacity to take care of “basic affairs” while the next steps are confirmed, the presidency said in a statement.
Later on Thursday, Mattarella dissolved parliament, paving the way for elections which could take place as early as September.
The general elections must be held within 70 days of the dissolution of parliament.
In a brief statement at the Quirinale Palace in which he admitted that this course of action was “always the last choice”, Mattarella called for the political crisis to be resolved as soon as possible given the acute challenges Italy faces and to guarantee “the increasingly necessary collaboration at European and international level”.
Draghi had 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 majority in the Parliament, which he did on Wednesday, but the clash between the right and M5S made it impossible.
Although Berlusconi and Salvini told the prime minister they would remain in the coalition, this was 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.
Italy is struggling with an energy crisis and soaring inflation, and also needs reforms to receive millions in pandemic recovery funds from the EU. EFE