Italy’s Draghi presents new gov’t

Rome, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, presented Friday a government including representatives of all but one of the main parties along with several technocrats in key positions.

The former head of the European Central Bank submitted the list of perspective Cabinet ministers to President Sergio Mattarella for his approval ahead of a swearing-in ceremony set for Saturday morning.

Mattarella turned to the 73-year-old Draghi 10 days ago after the collapse of the administration led by Giuseppe Conte due to the withdrawal of the small Italy Alive (IV) party from the ruling coalition.

The initial commission from the president was to assemble a non-political emergency government to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 90,000 people in Italy and caused the country’s worst recession since World War II.

Draghi, however, opted to combine party politicians with handful of high-profile outsiders, including Italian central bank director Daniele Franco, who is to become economy minister.

Vittorio Colao, ex-CEO of telecommunications company Vodafone, will serve as minister of Innovation and Digital Transition. Physicist Roberto Cingolani, a former executive with Leonardo SpA, the world’s eighth-largest military contractor, is to hold the newly created post of Ecological Transition minister.

Marta Cartabia, the first woman to preside over Italy’s Constitutional Tribunal, was selected as justice minister.

Luciana Lamorgese, who has no party affiliation, is to stay on as interior minister, while technocrats Enrico Giovanini, Patrizio Bianchi and Cristina Messa are to become the ministers of Infrastructure, Education, and Universities and Research, respectively.

The reformist 5-Star Movement (M5S), which has a plurality in parliament and was the largest element in Conte’s government, has four members in the new Cabinet, led by incumbent Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

M5S’ main ally in the previous administration, the center-left Democratic Party (PD), has three Cabinet posts. The other partners in the old coalition, IV and the leftist LeU, get one seat apiece.

Forza Italia, the party of ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi, receives three ministries, as does the rightist League of ex-Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

The far-right Brothers of Italy refused to support Draghi, who was acclaimed as the savior of the euro for his handling of successive financial crises as ECB chief from 2011-2019.

Conte’s government fell because the founder and leader of IV, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, disagreed with the coalition’s plans for how to use 220 million euros ($267.4 million) in aid from the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund.

More fundamentally, Renzi pushed for Italy to tap the 37 billion euros in loans available under the European Stability Mechanism, an option rejected by M5S because the loans would come with strings attached – such as requirements for additional austerity measures in a nation that has seen per capita income decline since 1999. EFE gsm/dr

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