Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi is new Italian Prime Minister

New PM Mario Draghi called to drive the country out of the crisis and ensure the administration of 222bln euros European Recovery Fund. Draghi’s ‘conditional acceptance’ will become fully operative after constructive talks to rebuild a working majority in the Parliament.   

“The idea is to get in somebody competent to draw up the government and get the recovery on the right track. It is rightly seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay the groundwork for economic recovery”, said to the New York Times Federico Santi, senior Europe analyst at think tank Eurasia Group

“Investors applauded his appointment. Italy’s borrowing costs were heading for their biggest daily fall since June while the Milan bourse blue chip index rose 2.5%. However, there was no guarantee that the highly respected economist would be able to muster sufficient support, with the largest party in parliament, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, immediately ruling out its backing”, Reuters explains .

It’s a difficult moment”, started Mario Draghi in his first speech to the nation after accepting the mandate of PM from the Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

“Defeating the pandemic, completing the vaccination campaign, giving answers to citizens’ daily problems, relaunching the country: these are the main challenges we are called to face”.

As former ECB head, Draghi made clear the massive EU Covid funds give Italy “the chance to realise a lot, with a keen goal to the young generations’ future and to strengthen social cohesion”.

The appointment puts an end to a political manoeuvre in the Senate by a minority ally of Giuseppe Conte’s government, Italia Viva led by Matteo Renzi who is also  Conte’s predecessor.

Conte, who has a wide popular support, resigned with the hope to rebuild a stable majority, but after days of consultations and power politics among the leading majority groups (moderate socialists/populists 5SM, dems PD and left Leu), on the one side and the right and far right asking a short transition government and new elections asap, the stance for a stability prevailed and a EU technocratic model and a champion of political balance prevailed. 

“I trust that from the dialogue among political parties and parliamentary groups and with the social representations, will come out unity along with the ability to give a responsible and positive answers to the President’s call”. 

While the former majority supports Draghi, it’s not clear as to whether Giuseppe Conte is going to accept any role in the new government.