Italy on the brink as Draghi government faces collapse – POLITICO

Italy on the brink as Draghi government faces collapse

Mario Draghi’s ruling coalition is at risk of collapsing as the populist 5 Star Movement threatens to leave his government.

The 5 Stars, which began as a protest movement, have made numerous commitments since forming a government in 2018. But the movement split over the government’s arming of Ukraine last month.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks between Draghi and Giuseppe Conte, the leader of 5Stars and a former prime minister. Conte is under pressure from a coalition of 5Stars lawmakers who believe the group can win support if he leaves government and joins the opposition.

Now, a key vote Thursday on a cost-of-living bill in the Italian parliament will serve as a crucial test to see if Draghi’s coalition survives. The 5Star Movement has been considering boycotting the vote on the bill, which Draghi supports and contains 26 billion euros in measures to help Italians manage inflation and rising energy costs.

The 5Stars oppose the bill on environmental grounds, citing provisions to create a new garbage incinerator for Rome.

Draghi has designated the vote as a matter of confidence, so a boycott of 5Stars would be an effective signal of the group’s withdrawal of support for the Draghi government. After an initial meeting on Wednesday to discuss the matter, the 5Stars leadership council had not reached a final decision. In the meantime,Conte had a call with Draghi as talks continue.

Relations between Italy’s governing coalition partners have become increasingly tense in recent weeks. Last week, Conte handed Draghi a letter saying the 5-Stars had suffered “deep political unease” from serving in the coalition.

The 5Stars demanded a list of concessions from Draghi, including a minimum wage, an increase in budget spending and guarantees for their flagship policies, such as welfare payments and incentives for the green conversion of homes.

The letter said that the Stars wanted to continue the historic alliances in the EU and NATO, but said that Italy was a “passive recipient of decisions made by others” and that this alignment was contributing to “an irreversible fracture” between the West and the United States. rest of the world.

Draghi said on Tuesday that the government’s goals were in line with some of 5Stars’ points and announced that the government intended to move towards a kind of minimum wage. But he ruled out an increase in spending from the budget.

“A government does not work with ultimatums, it loses the meaning of its existence,” said Draghi.

If 5Stars boycotts Thursday’s vote, Draghi will have to talk to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who could ask him to call a vote of confidence to see if he still has a majority.

Technically, Draghi could still command a majoritywithout the 5 stars. But he has repeatedly indicated that if the 5 Stars withdraw, he will not be available to lead another government. The right-wing Liga party also indicated on Wednesday that it will not participate in another government. That would potentially leave Italy facing snap elections.

Analysts said elections before 2023 are unlikely as Italy has never held elections in the autumn, when the government needs to prepare and approve its budget.

Giovanni Orsina, a professor of political history at Rome’s Luiss University, said a solution is likely to be found, as no one wants to take responsibility for toppling the government “in the midst of a pandemic, a war, a drought, a crisis.” energy imminent and with the budget law to write.”

An alternative scenario is that 5Stars decides to vote with the government on Thursday and delay the decision to leave the government in the hope of getting more concessions from Draghi.

Orsina said that if 5-Stars refuses to vote, Draghi could finally stay out of a sense of duty to the country: “If Mattarella asks him to stay in the interest of the country, and he has the majority, it would be difficult for an official to say ‘Nope’. There is a country to be governed.”

Melissa Galbraith
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