Italy’s Draghi seems closer to decide whether to form government

Photo: EPA Mario Draghi

Former ECB chief Mario Draghi will continue talks with Italy's biggest political parties on Tuesday in a bid to form a new government, dpa reported. Draghi, who holds no political office, was last week tasked with forming a technocratic government by President Sergio Mattarella, after the previous coalition under PM Giuseppe Conte collapsed in mid-January.

The Tuesday meetings with parties including the populist Five Star Movement, ex-interior minister Matteo Salvini's right-wing League party and the Social Democrats (PD) are expected to bring Draghi closer to deciding whether to actually put himself forward for a parliamentary vote to become prime minister.

Draghi needs the confidence of the two chambers of parliament, and has received positive signals from both the former government forces and the opposition during exploratory talks.

However, the Five Star Movement - whose support is particularly important as the strongest force in parliament - is divided on the matter and plans to poll its members this week. Conte, who is close to the M5S, last week said he will not hamper the formation of a Draghi government. Ex-premier reiterated that he does not intend to be a member of the new cabinet.

Conte's resignation came in response to former prime minister Matteo Renzi's Italia Viva party leaving the centre-left coalition after a spat about how to use pandemic aid from the European Union.

Salvini has agreed to support Draghi after initially saying new elections were the best option. Some PD politicians were put off by Salvini's support.

During the first round of talks last week the right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party was the only group to give a flat-out No to Draghi, ANSA reported.

With Italy battling the COVID-19 pandemic, holding the presidency of the G20 this year and co-chairing the COP-26 UN Climate Summit with the UK, Mattarella called on the parties in parliament to back a government led by non-political figure rather than holding snap elections at such a delicate time.

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