Italy looks to "Super Mario" Draghi to end political crisis


President Sergio Mattarella is expected to task Draghi with forming a government following the resignation of Conte on 26 January and the subsequent failure by party leaders to agree on a new coalition.

Draghi must now try and muster support in the fractured parliament, with some political parties reluctant to back an administration led by a technocrat.

In addition to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, the State also has to plan and implement projects to make good use of over 200 billion euros Italy is set to get in grants and low-interest loans from the EU's COVID-19 Recovery Fund. "Winning over the pandemic, completing the vaccination campaign, providing answers to the citizens' immediate problems, and re-launching the economy are the challenges we face".

Draghi said Mattarella reminded him of "the hard moment Italy is facing with the health crisis, and its very serious impact on people, the economy and Italian society".

"This is a hard moment", Draghi acknowledged in a short declaration after being appointed.

Draghi said he would start consultations with political forces and "trusts that unity will emerge".

"As such, it will not vote in favour of a technical government headed by Mario Draghi", Mr Crimi said in a statement.

So far the PD appears on board, as does Renzi, but the M5S, the biggest party in parliament once defined by its euroscepticism, is split. The 5-Stars had insisted on Conte remaining premier and bitterly resented Renzi's power play that brought him down.

It is not certain, however, that an eventual Draghi executive would win broad backing from parties across the political spectrum.

It is not clear whether Mr Draghi will be able to unite Italy's divided government.

As a result, a "Super Mario" success story is by no means a given, said Giovanni Orsina, head of the Luiss School of Government in Rome.

"We understand the knee-jerk rally in Italian bonds as a result owes to a large part to the former European Central Bank president's name being associated with lower yields", said ING senior rates strategist Antoine Bouvet.

Italy's 10-year bond yield tumbled 10 basis points to 0.55%, its lowest level in two weeks.

Says elections would curb govt activities in a crucial moment for Italy.

Italy was an early hot spot for the coronavirus, and has seen at least 89,000 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 2.5 million confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It is trying to ramp up its vaccination campaign and must report back to the European Union how it plans to spend the recovery funds.

He ruled out snap elections because of the pandemic, and instead said he would help form a "high-profile government that should not identify itself with any political formula".

Last week, Giuseppe Conte, an obscure academic who proved a deft political operator, resigned as prime minister. He suggested he was pleased with the outcome, praising Mattarella's "wise" decision.

Former head of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi gives a press conference after a meeting with the Italian president, at the Quirinal Palace in Rome on Wednesday.

The right-wing opposition, which had been leading the polls prior to the government tumult, still pressed for an early election, though the Forza Italia party of ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi indicated its support for a "high-profile" government.

As Italy was facing unsustainably high borrowing costs that threatened its financial stability, Draghi said in July 2012 that the central bank was ready to do "whatever it takes" within its mandate to preserve the euro.



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