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Italian president’s meeting with Draghi sparks mixed reactions

Sergio Mattarella
Sergio Mattarella

dpa/GNA – Ahead of talks between Italian President Sergio Mattarella and former European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi on Wednesday, the strongest force in parliament, the Five Star Movement, signalled that it would not support Draghi.

The movement would “not vote for the creation of a government of experts chaired by Mario Draghi,” party leader Vito Crimi said.

For weeks, Draghi has been talked about as a potential head of a technocratic government to guide the country through its most pressing problems amid the pandemic in the coming weeks or months.

Mattarella’s plans to meet Draghi received a mixed reception, with the Five Star Movement continuing to call for a political government, rather than a team of technocrats.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Matteo Renzi of the Italia Viva party said he would support the former ECB chief.

A Cabinet led by Draghi would also have to win the support of both chambers of parliament.

On Tuesday, Mattarella called on lawmakers to support a government of technocrats.

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Party negotiations mediated by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Fico, to resurrect Italy’s centre-left governing coalition broke down late on Tuesday.

Fico had led talks to find a parliamentary majority among parties that had supported the previous government under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Conte’s resignation came in response to Renzi’s Italia Viva party leaving the centre-left coalition in mid-January after a spat over how to use pandemic aid from the European Union.

In recent weeks, installing a government of technocrats has been discussed as a possible short-term option, though it is thought that Mattarella would like to usher in a government that will last until the end of the legislature in 2023.

Another option, favoured by the majority of parties only as a last resort, would be early elections.

Draghi led the ECB from 2011 to 2019.