posted on 07/22/2022 06:00
(credit: Quirinale Palace/AFP)
Just before 9 am (4 am in Brasilia), the then Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, went to Parliament and announced his decision to resign after losing his majority to govern. Emotional, the former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) said that “even bankers use their hearts” and warned that, from there, he would head directly to Quirinela Palace to hand over the post of premier to the president, Sergio Mattarella. Another chapter in the history of a nation marked by political crises was concluded. In 76 years, Italy has experienced 68 governments.
Mattarella accepted his resignation and signed a decree by which he ordered the dissolution of parliament and called for elections for September 25. “No break is possible in the moment we are going through”, justified the president, citing energy costs and economic difficulties. “The dissolution of Parliament is always the last choice to be made. (…) The political situation has led to this situation.”
While the Draghi government collapsed, after 18 months at the helm of the country, the political seams for the formation of a new government began behind the scenes of power. Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, Draghi’s only opposition party, tweeted: “In this nation, there is a desperate will to regain its own hope, its own pride and its own freedom.” One of the favorites for the premiership, Meloni highlighted that “the will of the people is expressed only in one way: voting”. “We will return hope and strength to Italy,” she promised.
In an interview with the Italian broadcaster Tg2, the former prime minister and leader of the Forza Italia party, Silvio Berlusconi, came out in defense of a government formed by the centre-right. “Italy needs a government that moves forward in decision-making, in the wake of what the center-right has always had as a political perspective. We are the continuators and only witnesses of the liberal, Christian, pro-European tradition and the guarantees of the values and principles of western civilization”, he said. He blamed Giuseppe Conte’s 5 Star Movement (M5S) for the government’s downfall.
Enrico Letta — secretary of the Democratic Party (PD, center-left) accused the League and Força Italia of having betrayed voters. “Now, the theme of the coalition has completely changed,” said one of the potential candidates for the premiership. “With the three parties that overthrew Draghi, it will be impossible to make electoral alliances,” added Letta.
Political historian at the Luiss Guido Carli University (in Rome), Lorenzo Castellani explained to the Correio that Giuseppe Conte, head of the 5 Star Movement (M5E), started the crisis, but that the “death blow” was delivered by the center-right. “The League decided to leave the government because of Draghi’s cynical electoral calculation, which was betting on a victory at the polls,” he said. He points out that Draghi’s behavior played an important role in the downfall of the government. “The former prime minister was very harsh in his speech before Parliament, both with the left and with the right. Because they did not agree with Draghi’s personality and his government program, the M5E and The League stopped supporting him. it.”
Castellani cites the far-right Meloni as the main candidate for the post of premier. Her Brothers of Italy party has gained consensus in the political arena and, according to polls, would have between 23% and 24% of the vote in the September 25 elections. “I bet she can get a better performance by then,” she said. In the case of a victory for the left-winger, the political historian throws the chips at Letta. For now, he discards any articulations that could bring Draghi back to power. “The most likely name is Meloni. But it is unclear whether the right-wing coalition will have enough seats in Parliament to ensure governability.”
Franco Pavoncello, professor of political science at John Cabot University (in Rome), adopted a metaphor to assess the decisive role of M5E in the end of government. “Conte’s party didn’t give Draghi a vote of confidence. In doing so, he put a pistol in the hands of Berlusconi’s League to ‘kill Draghi and the government’. That’s exactly what he did. Berlusconi said he was willing to maintain support for Draghi as long as he leaves the M5E. Draghi, in turn, warned that he would not continue in office if he lost members of the governing coalition and, consequently, the parliamentary majority. The League made it clear that the M5E would not was more reliable. This made Draghi’s resignation inevitable, as he needs to form a government with all parties,” he told the report.
Pavoncello foresees a coalition between A Liga, M5E and the Brothers of Italy party. “Meloni has stated very clearly that she wants a coalition with La Liga and Forza Italia. In that case, the Brothers of Italy would nominate Meloni for premier. At the same time, Berlusconi would be interested in becoming prime minister again,” he commented. The expert warns that, given the fact that Meloni is the head of a far-right party, Berlusconi can position himself as the ideal candidate for the position. In 65 days, Italy will know the answer.
credit: personal archive
“Until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Draghi played a good role in the government. Rome received money from the European Union, Italy’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 8% a year. The war caused the prices of gas and oil skyrocketed, inflation set in and it became very difficult for Italian industry to produce. The situation became very difficult. The M5E and The League began to wonder if it was worth supporting the government for a year and sacrificing Italy. M5E withdrawing the vote of confidence strengthened Silvio Berlusconi.”
Franco Pavoncello, professor of political science at John Cabot University (in Rome)
Russia resumes gas supply
Europe breathed a sigh of relief yesterday after Russia reopened its gas flow to the continent via the Nord Stream pipeline following a suspension of operations for maintenance. According to the first data released by the German network operator, Gascade, the flow is equivalent to that recorded before the suspension, which corresponds to 40% of its capacity. Moscow and Kiev will also sign an agreement to allow the export of grain across the Black Sea, Turkey announced.
Russia blamed Westerners for technical problems with gas supplies. “It is the restrictions that prevent the repair of equipment, especially turbines at compressor stations,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov. The possible lack of gas alarms many European countries. Russia will “study” the possibility of supplying supplementary gas this year to Hungary, a country that imports 65% of its oil from Russia and 80% of its gas, Russian diplomacy chief Sergei Lavrov said after meeting in Moscow with colleague from Hungary, Peter Szijjarto.
Regarding the grain transport agreement, the Turkish Presidency informed that authorities from Russia and Ukraine will participate in the signing ceremony today, in the presence of the Turkish Head of State, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the UN Secretary General. , António Guterres, at the Dolmabahçe Palace, in Istanbul. The United States welcomed the agreement negotiated with the mediation of Turkey and gave Russia the responsibility to fulfill the pact. “We welcome the announcement of this agreement, but our focus now is on holding Russia accountable for its implementation,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price.