Five things to know about the political crisis in Italy

After a year and five months at the helm of the Italian executive, Mario Draghi is finally confronted with the political vicissitudes of a country where only Rome is eternal. What happened ? Here are five things to know about the crisis that led Draghi to resign this Thursday evening, July 14, 2022, to President Sergio Mattarella, who refused them.

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The sources of the crisis

At the helm of the Italian executive since February 2021, Mario Draghi succeeded Giuseppe Conte, leader of the 5 Star Movement (M5S), an anti-system formation born in the late 2000s and which has largely returned to the ranks since then. And it is in particular its positioning in the great coalition of national unity of Draghi that has aroused internal dissensions, between the supporters of Conte, custodians of the original doctrine of the party, and Luigi Di Maio, head of diplomacy, who now fully plays the card of the former head of the ECB.

These political tensions, along with personal rivalries, worsened with the Ukrainian crisis, Conte opposed the delivery of arms to Kiev. M5S also believes that the government is not doing enough for the more modest and green transition. Di Maio ended up slamming the door and founding his party in early July.

The collapse of the M5S house

Behind the programmatic facade, a collapsing M5S house: the M5S, winner of the last legislative elections in 2018, with 32% of the votes and a relative majority in Parliament, has since continued to plummet in voting intentions, today at 10 % -11%. After the defeat in the spring partial administrative elections, which revealed their weak roots in the territories, they are looking for a new life. Giuseppe Conte can count on the support of the founder of the movement, the former actor Beppe Grillo, for whom the elected 5 Stars are not there to pass the dishes. “M5S does M5S”He said.

And the story of the incinerator?

Rome has a sinister – and deserved – reputation as a dirty city: garbage is collected at random and hordes of wild boars take advantage of it to make markets in the suburbs. The former mayor of the capital’s M5S, Virginia Raggi, tried to fix it, in vain. The authorities denounce the grip of the mafia groups on the collection network and the chronic absenteeism of the agents.

A mayor of the Democratic Party has since been elected. And with the government it was decided to build an incinerator. However, the famous text boycotted by the M5S in the Senate provides extraordinary powers for the mayor to carry out the project. Unacceptable for the M5S, which believes that this incinerator will pollute, cost a fortune and above all that it will not solve the immediate problem as it will take years to build.

Draghi keeps the majority, why would you want to leave?

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has exploded the strict deficit criteria defended by Brussels, Mario Draghi, a former central banker in Frankfurt, is perceived by the European Commission and the markets as a white knight of budget orthodoxy, a pledge of rigor (or austerity according to its detractors) in a politically unstable and economically fragile country.

Only, at 74, this economist who has never sought an elective mandate does not want to be drawn into the traditional games of Italian politics. It was invested in his name, to save Italy from experiencing a “Greek nightmare” after the pandemic that plunged the GDP of the eurozone’s third largest economy and deprived millions of workers of income. And if in the name of this vital emergency, he has welcomed carp and rabbit into his team, from the left to Matteo Salvini’s League, it is not to play court referees.

What is Draghi’s record?

Just under 200 billion euros between 2021 and 2026: this is the manna negotiated by Mario Draghi with his European partners to keep Italy afloat. No other country has received so much. Brussels has already disbursed 45.9 billion, as the reforms requested in return have been undertaken, for example that of justice, one of the slowest and most inefficient in Europe.

“But many of the more sensitive and politically controversial reforms are pending.observes Lorenzo Codogno, former chief economist of the Italian Treasury. It would have had to find the lowest common denominator to carry out at least the reforms envisaged in the recovery plan and considered fairly neutral. But join forces [politiques, ndlr] so diversified it is an almost impossible mission “.

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