Italian president rejects PM’s resignation

Rome, Jul 14 (EFE).- Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Thursday rejected an attempt by Prime Minister Mario Draghi to step down after one of the parties in the national unity government boycotted the Senate vote on a key piece of legislation.

“The President of the Republic did not accept the resignation and invited the Prime Minister to appear before Parliament to make communications, so that an assessment of the situation that has arisen as a result of the outcome of the session held today in the Senate of the Republic could be carried out in its proper forum,” Mattarella’s office said in a statement.

The earliest parliament will take up the matter is next Wednesday, following Draghi’s official visit to Algeria.

Draghi’s bill, a package to combat inflation, was presented as a vote of confidence in the government, a technique to expedite legislation.

The Five Star Movement (M5S) abstained, openly breaking with the technocrat prime minister after weeks of strained relations over Italy’s role in supplying weapons to Ukraine, among other topics.

A faction of M5S headed by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who favors arming Kyiv, recently exited the party because of disagreements about Ukraine with party leader – and former prime minister – Giuseppe Conti.

Although the bill passed, Draghi had previously stated that the unity government could not function without M5S, the largest party in parliament.

M5S said that the 26 billion euros ($26.06 billion) in aid in Draghi’s package was “insufficient” to the needs of Italians and complained that none of its proposals was incorporated into the bill.

Draghi, a former chief of the European Central Bank, took charge in February 2021 at the head of a coalition of every party in parliament save the Brothers of Italy, who are characterized by some as neofascist.

Several elements, including the center-left Democrats, Di Maia’s Together for the Future and the Italia Viva party of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, say they are ready to help the Draghi administration remain in power until March 2023 without M5S.

But Matteo Salvini, leader of the hard-right League, is calling for new elections, as is Brothers of Italy chair Giorgia Meloni, whose party has been climbing in the polls.

The national council of M5S met Thursday night to decide on its next move, but adjourned without reaching a conclusion.

Conte said that the deliberations will continue Friday. EFE gsm/jt/dr

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