Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Wednesday during a speech in Parliament that he was willing to stay in his role if the parties in his broad coalition throw their support behind his leadership. Draghi now faces a confidence vote as he seeks to rebuild a coalition.
That however doesn't appear to be going to plan as the country's co-ruling Forza Italia and League parties along with populist 5-Star Movement have indicated they will not be taking part in the vote.
What did Draghi say about Italy's government turmoil?
Draghi recently put forward his resignation, but it was rejected by Italian President Sergio Mattarella. The 5-Star Movement had earlier refused to back the coalition in a parliamentary confidence vote, leading to Draghi's resignation.
Draghi called for a new "pact" between the bickering parties in the coalition. He urged unity from the coalition amid dire challenges such as the war in Ukraine, inflation and widening social inequality.
"Are you ready? Are you ready to rebuild the pact? Are you ready?" Draghi said in his speech to the upper chamber, the Senate. "You don't have to give the response to me. You have to give it to all Italians."
Draghi said the support for his government is "unprecedented and impossible to ignore" after political leaders and ordinary citizens called for him to stay on in recent days.
Senators will discuss Draghi's remarks in the coming hours, with a vote on his speech scheduled for later this evening. If Draghi declares that the government can no longer go on, elections will likely occur in the fall.
Draghi rejects coalition without 5-Star
The Italian leader could remain as premier without the backing of 5-Star, which garnered the most votes in the 2018 general elections. Yet he has rejected this idea as his original mandate was to guide a national unity coalition of ideologically diverse parties.
Giuseppe Conte, the leader of 5-Star, has urged Draghi to adopt its plans on the minimum wage, tax credits and other issues. The party is also divided from within on supplying weapons to Ukraine.
The right-wing League party and its Forza Italia ally have also said they no longer want to govern with 5-Star, throwing another wrench into coalition negotiations.
"The center-right... will only continue to contribute towards solving Italy's problems with a new government, still led by Mario Draghi, without the 5-Star Movement and profoundly changed," the League and Forza Italia parties said in a joint statement.
Ettore Licheri, a senator from the 5-Star Movement, said Draghi's speech on Wednesday "did not answer our questions."
Draghi first became PM in February 2021, and guided the country through its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic repercussions. Earlier, Draghi served as the head of the European Central Bank amid the eurozone financial crisis.
wd/wmr (Reuters, AP, AFP)