Draghi hopeful of ‘responsible’ response from parties

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(ANSA) – ROME, FEB 3 – Mario Draghi said Wednesday that he
was hopeful Italy’s political parties would give a positive
response after President Sergio Mattarella handed him a mandate
to try and form a new government.
    “I am confident that unity and the capacity to give a
responsible response will emerge from the discussion with the
parties, with the groups in parliament,” Draghi said.
    Draghi reserved the right to accept the mandate to be premier or
not.
    He is now set to have talks with the parties to see if an
eventual government led by him would have a working majority in
parliament.
    “The challenges are to defeat the (COVID-19) pandemic, complete
the vaccination campaign, offer responses to everyday problems
and relaunch the country,” he said “We have extraordinary resources from the EU (Recovery Fund).
    “We have the opportunity to work with a careful eye on the
future generations and on social cohesion”.
    The head of State turned to Mr ‘Whatever It Takes (to save the
euro)’ after Lower House Speaker Roberto Fico reported to him on
Tuesday that efforts to patch up the coalition that had
supported outgoing Premier Giuseppe Conte’s executive had
failed.
    Conte quit last week, although he remains at the helm of
government for day-to-day business, after ex-premier Matteo
Renzi’s centrist Italia Viva (IV) party triggered a crisis by
withdrawing its support.
    Mattarella on Friday handed Fico an exploratory mandate to see
if there was a way for IV and the other former allies, the
5-Star Movement (M5S), the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and
the left-wing LeU, to work things out.
    But it became clear that the talks were destined to fail when
Renzi said Tuesday that the other parties were not giving
ground.
    After speaking to Fico on Tuesday, the president, the arbiter of
Italian politics, called on the parties represented in
parliament to support a “high-profile” non-political
national-unity executive.
    He said the nation needed a solid government and argued that now
was not a good time for its political class to be focused on an
election campaign.
    Mattarella noted that other nations that had been forced to go
the polls had shown drastic COVID-19 infection spikes.
    In addition to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, the State also
has to plan and implement projects to make good use of over 200
billion euros Italy is set to get in grants and low-interest
loans from the EU’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund.
    Furthermore, Italy holds the G20 presidency this year and it is
co-chairing the COP26 UN Climate Summit with the UK.
    It is not certain, however, that an eventual Draghi executive
would win broad backing from parties across the political
spectrum.
    The M5S has said it will not vote in favour of a technocrat
government led by Draghi, saying “the only possible government
must be a political one”.
    League leader Matteo Salvini, whose party is top of the opinions
polls and is the driving force of the centre-right opposition,
reiterated his call for snap elections.
    “Sovereignty belongs to the people,” said Salvini.
    Salvini’s ally Giorgio Meloni, the leader of the right-wing
Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, said early elections were better
than a Draghi government.
    However, the other main party in the centre-right coalition,
Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI), did not close the door,
recalling the “long-standing esteem” between the ex-premier and
the former head of the ECB.
    Renzi welcomed Mattarella’s move.
    PD leader Nicola Zingaretti attacked IV and said his party was “ready for talks for the good of the country”. (ANSA).
   

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