Italy faces parliamentary showdown over government survival

Draghi tendered his resignation last week after the populist 5-Star Movement refused to back his broad coalition in a parliamentary vote of confidence.

President Sergio Mattarella rejected the resignation and instead asked him to address parliament, hoping he would find a solution allowing him to remain in office until the end of the legislature in early 2023.

The senators were summoned for 9:30 a.m. (0730 GMT) and the result of the vote on the Prime Minister’s speech was expected for 7:30 p.m. (1730 GMT). A debate on the future of government is also expected to take place in the lower house on Thursday.

Little appears to have changed on the political front since last week, when the 5-Star Party boycotted a vote of confidence on measures to ease the high cost of living, complaining that its own concerns had been overlooked.

It remains unclear if Draghi is still determined to step down over the next two days, or if he might change his mind and stay on, as many people in Italy and abroad have demanded, fearing that his departure does not trigger chaos.

The former head of the European Central Bank has enough support to stay in office without a 5-star rating, but he has so far rejected that option because his original mandate was to lead a national unity coalition with parties across the world. political spectrum.

5-Star frontman Giuseppe Conte said over the weekend that he wanted Draghi to signal he was ready to implement some of his policy priorities before renewing his support for the government, including the introduction of a minimum wage system.

Complicating efforts to overcome divisions, the right-wing League party and its Forza Italia allies have said they no longer want to share power with 5-Star.

The 5-Star have held repeated meetings in recent days to try to decide their strategy, but remain deeply divided. Two party lawmakers told Reuters that as of Tuesday evening they had received no guidance on how to vote in Wednesday’s debate.

If Draghi feels his government cannot be revived, he would again tender his resignation to President Mattarella, almost certainly paving the way for elections in late September or early October.

Italy has not had an autumn election since World War II, as that is the period normally reserved for budgeting.

Rating agency Fitch said Monday that Draghi’s resignation would make structural reform and fiscal consolidation even more difficult in Italy, which has the second highest debt-to-GDP ratio in Europe after Greece.

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