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Draghi asked to form new Italian coalition government

President Sergio Mattarella said Italy needed a "high-profile government" to handle the Covid pandemic and the worst economic crisis in decades.

Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, has asked Mario Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, to form a new government after the previous coalition collapsed.

Draghi to form Italy government

President Sergio Mattarella said Italy needed a “high-profile government” to handle the Covid pandemic and the worst economic crisis in decades.

Politicians failed to agree on a coalition following the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte last week. Mario Draghi will now have to construct an administration that leaders favor. On Wednesday, he was summoned to Rome’s historic Quirinale Palace by President Mattarella. He gave him the mandate to break the parliamentary stalemate.

Mario Draghi accepted the challenge and in a brief statement said: “I am confident that in talks with parliamentary and other groups, we will find unity and the ability to find a responsible solution” during what is a “difficult moment” for Italy”.

Italy’s financial markets were boosted by the news that the skillful technocrat had been brought in, with the Milan stock market up almost 3%. Political parties have clashed over how to spend €222bn (£195bn; $267bn) of EU Covid recovery funds. At present, almost 90,000 Italians have died – the sixth-highest death toll in the world.

Draghi’s arrival has not been welcomed by everyone as Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) has already said that it will not back a government led by Mr Draghi. The party has been in government since 2018.

Mr Draghi steered the eurozone through the financial crisis during his eight years as president of the European Central Bank (ECB) and is therefore occasionally known as “Super Mario” – after the hero Italian character in a Nintendo video game. Certain analysts and commentators believe that he saved both the eurozone and the euro currency. The eurozone financial crisis was already underway when Mr Draghi assumed control at the ECB in November 2011. Draghi promised to do: “whatever it takes to preserve the euro”. And calling for “urgent action” to implement a substantial bailout fund.

He called for governments to unite in tackling the debt crisis collectively, the move was initially met with resistance from Germany, but it eventually paid off as economies began to grow. In his statement, Draghi stated that the challenges Italy now faced were: “beating the pandemic, completing the vaccination campaign, offering answers to everyday challenges and getting the country back on track“.

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