Mattarella turns to Draghi after govt-crisis talks fail

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(ANSA) – ROME, FEB 3 – President Sergio Mattarella has summoned Mario Draghi to the Quirinal Palace on Wednesday and he is expected to give the former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) a mandate to try and form a new government.
    The head of State turned to Mr ‘Whatever It Takes’ 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 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.
    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 be 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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