Renzi wants to see ex-ECB's chief Draghi as Italy’s new PM: source

Sergio Mattarella (L) and Mario Draghi (R), Frankfurt, 29 October 2019..

Matteo Renzi, who triggered Italy's political crisis this month by pulling his Italia Viva party out of the ruling coalition, would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

The former coalition allies are holding talks to see if they can overcome their differences and revive their government, which formally collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned.

Renzi has repeatedly criticised Conte's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, and a party source confirmed a report in La Stampa newspaper that Italia Viva would like Draghi to become the next prime minister. "I would say that is one of our proposals," said the source, who declined to be named.

La Stampa newspaper reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella had sounded out Draghi. The head of state's office swiftly denied this, saying there had been no contact between the two men during the political crisis.

After three days of talks with party leaders, Mattarella on Friday asked lower house speaker Roberto Fico to mediate between the coalition parties, including Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement. Fico opened the talks on Saturday. Mattarella asked him to report back on Tuesday.

Renzi has repeatedly said he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, arguing that the parties need to agree on a policy pact first. "Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic," Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

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