Tag Archives: italy-politics

Italian Residents Join the Establishment | Instant News

Mario Draghi speaking in Washington, October 14, 2017.


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Italy, like the US, has recently completed experiments in populist governance. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigration League formed a coalition after general elections in 2018, but the coalition broke up after less than a year. As in America, the new head of government is an established figure. But unlike President Biden, Prime Minister Mario Draghi is better known as a politician than a technocrat: an economist with a doctorate from MIT who heads the Italian Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Italy and the European Central Bank. He shuns social media and rarely gives public interviews or speeches.

“When I was prime minister, Mario Draghi was the director general of the Treasury. I know him personally and professionally, “Lamberto Dini told me. He led the government in 1995-96, “He was very quiet. He would only call when there was a problem to solve, and he would solve it. He’s not just a technocrat; he is a great political figure. ”

Mr Draghi, 73, is best known for rescuing the euro during its debt crisis in 2012. He promised in his speech that the ECB will do “whatever is necessary” to save the eurozone, stopping international speculation on the currency.

This month President Sergio Mattarella appointed Mr Draghi to head the national unity government. Unlike in the US, there is no populist reaction to the new established leader. In contrast, the anti-establishment Five Star League and Movement was so eager to join the new cabinet that they abandoned their previous eurosceptic positions. The coalition also includes the center-left Democratic Party, the free market Forza Italia, and the socialist-democratic Free and Equals Party. The only opposition party is the far-right Brothers of Italy.

The unelected Mr Draghi was very popular with voters. According to a survey by Noto Sondaggi, Italy’s leading poll, 56% of Italians trust him – the highest number recorded in two decades. Markets seem to share the feeling: The Italian bond yield benchmark hit a record low after the appointment.

Bringing together a diverse coalition will be a challenge for the new prime minister. For starters, he reappointed Luigi Di Maio Five Star as foreign minister. Mr. Party Di Maio opened Italy to the Chinese Communist Party by signing the Belt and Road Initiative. Mr Draghi is committed to Italy’s alliance with the US and needs to persuade the Five Star Movement to change course.

In a country where Covid has been particularly hard-hit, Mr Draghi will also manage an aid program larger than the Marshall Plan – $ 240 billion from the European Union’s Recovery Fund. He oversaw the ECB’s quantitative easing after the 2008 financial crisis, and he appointed League members to the major economics ministries, a signal that he plans to increase productivity by reducing taxes and reforming inefficient bureaucracies. Expenditures will be directed carefully to businesses with prospects for success and unemployment.

“It looks like we’ve come to an agreement,” Giovanni Orsina, historian and dean at Rome’s LUISS University, told me. Voters vote for anti-establishment parties, but they lack the competence to lead. Italy will find out if a trusted leader can satisfy popular discontent by combining expertise with a different populist vision.

Ms. Bocchi is Joseph Rago’s Memorial Fellow of the Journal.

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Appears in the print edition of February 25, 2021.


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Italian Prime Minister to submit resignation when government falters | Top-ap news | Instant News

ROME (AP) – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte intends to offer his resignation on Tuesday, his office said Monday, a move seen as a gamble that the battled leader will get a new mandate from the president to try to forge a more viable coalition.

Conte survived two confident votes in Parliament last week, but lost his absolute majority in the Senate with the defection of his centric ally, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. That is hampering the effectiveness of his government amid the pandemic, which has ravaged Italy’s long-stagnant economy.

Conte’s office said late Monday that the prime minister would notify his Cabinet at a meeting Tuesday morning of “his desire to go to the Quirinale (presidential palace) to hand over his resignation.”

Then Conte intends to go to the palace to meet with President Sergio Mattarella, who, as head of state, can accept the resignation, perhaps asking the prime minister to then see if he can assemble a more solid coalition that can lead a reliable majority in Parliament. .

Mattarella has often stressed the need for the country to have strong leadership as it struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, with its devastating effects on Italy’s long-stagnant economy.

After consulting with leaders from the government and opposition parties, the president may also decide to take advantage of others he deems to have a better chance of forming a more solid government. If nothing can form a more viable and reliable coalition, Mattarella has the option of dissolving Parliament, setting the stage for elections two years early.

Conte has led the center-left coalition for 16 months. Prior to that, for 15 months, he led a government still with the populist 5-Star Movement, the largest party in Parliament but in coalition with Matteo Salvini’s far-right League party.

That first government collapsed when Salvini withdrew his support in an unsuccessful attempt to win the prime minister post for himself.

Conte, despite being identified with the 5 Star Movement, has not led any party. So, leaving behind the frequent political crises in Italy, he would not be part of formal consultations with Mattarella, who met with successive party leaders who came to the palace for talks.

The main support for any government to come could come from former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centric opposition party. Just hours before the announcement by Conte’s office, the media mogul said he trusted Mattarella’s “political wisdom” to show a way out of the crisis.

“The highway is the only one,” Berlusconi said in a statement. The solution would be “a new government that will represent the substantial unity of the country in times of emergency” or it could be new elections “to return the word (to decide) to Italian voters”.

By the end of February, the Italian government must tell the European Union how it intends to spend about 200 billion euros ($ 250 billion) in recovery funds, which are focused on reforming the country’s health and other institutional systems.

One of Renzi’s problems with Conte is that he thinks too much decision-making power is concentrated in the prime minister’s hands on funding programs.

Salvini said he was holding a meeting of center-right leaders, including far-right leader Giorgia Meloni and Berlusconi’s group to bolster the opposition press for the election.

“Italians need hospitals, open and safe schools, and a year of tax peace to return breath and hope to families and businesses,” Salvini said. “It is not a government that can escort Italy out of this disaster.”

The leader of the main coalition partner, the Democratic Party, is pushing for a new mandate for Conte, who, despite euro skepticism towards 5-Stars, has recently expressed strong support for the European Union, in an apparent attempt to woo centrists. MPs are now in opposition.

The leader of the Democrats, Nicola Zingaretti, is rooted in a tweet for a new Conte government that will be “clearly pro-European and supported by a broad parliamentary base that will guarantee credibility and stability to face the huge challenges Italy faced before.”

But analysts see Conte’s support from his own coalition as fluid.

“A new coalition government, either under Conte or a different prime minister, remains the most likely outcome,” said London-based Wolfango Piccoli, vice president of the Teneo analyst group.

But, “the bottom line is that Italy will continue to be led by an executive not fit for the tough work up front, as has been since the last election” in 2018, Piccoli wrote in a statement.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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