Roundup: Draghi resigns, Italy to hold early elections on Sept. 25

ROME, July 21– Italy will hold early elections on Sept. 25, the president’s office said Thursday after the resignation of Mario Draghi as prime minister and the dissolution of parliament. His decision to step down came after three major allies in the coalition did not take part in a key confidence vote in the Senate on Wednesday, thus withdrawing their support to…

ROME, July 21 (Xinhua) — Italy will hold early elections on Sept. 25, the president’s office said Thursday after the resignation of Mario Draghi as prime minister and the dissolution of parliament.

Draghi’s resignation put an end to his national unity government formed in February 2021 with the support of a broad coalition. His decision to step down came after three major allies in the coalition did not take part in a key confidence vote in the Senate on Wednesday, thus withdrawing their support to the cabinet.

LAST CHOICE TO MAKE

Italian President Sergio Mattarella announced the early dissolution of the two chambers Thursday afternoon, after accepting Draghi’s resignation, during a short address to the nation.

Mattarella stressed dissolving the chambers earlier than due “was always the last-resort choice to make,” but explained this step became inevitable since Wednesday’s confidence vote in the Senate proved “lack of any perspective of creating a new majority.”

Yet he warned the parties the country was facing crucial challenges that could not be put on hold.

“It is my duty to underline the period we are facing does not allow for pauses in the indispensable interventions to fight the effects of the socio-economic crisis,” the president noted.

These interventions are necessary for coping with the current economic difficulties, in particular the rise in inflation, and for containing the impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Mattarella added.

Mattarella urged all political forces to act with sense of responsibility and in a constructive way during the next campaign, not forgetting such priorities.

UNPRECEDENTED VOTE IN AUTUMN

The Italians will now cast their ballots in autumn. In his speech Thursday, Mattarella said early elections would come at a very sensitive time for Italy and Europe.

The crisis that has brought about the collapse of Draghi’s cabinet was sparked last week by Five Star Movement (M5S) over a government’s relief bill worth about 26 billion euros (26.5 billions U.S. dollars) to help firms and families cope with rising energy bills and other costs of living.

The party, led by former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, argued the package was insufficient and denied its votes.

In the confidence procedure in Senate on Wednesday, right wing League and center-right Forza Italia parties joined the M5S in boycotting the vote.

All three dismissed Draghi’s appeal to forge a more cohesive pact and let the government work until the natural end of the legislature in spring 2023.

Draghi’s cabinet will stay in office as caretaker for current affairs until the next is formed after elections, but there were economic priorities that would rather be better addressed by the newly elected government.

These included completing the reforms outlined in the national recovery and resilience plan, which are a pre-condition for Italy to continue receiving its 200-billion-euro portion of the European Union (EU) post-COVID recovery package.

Another priority will be preparing the next national budget, and having it approved by the Italian parliament and the European Commission before the end of the year. Enditem

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