Jul 21, 2022 15:01 UTC
  •  Italy's PM Draghi steps down after coalition govt. collapses

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has resigned after failing to revive his coalition government, triggering a snap election campaign which could bring the hard right to power.

The 74-year-old prime minister stepped down on Thursday, just a day after he managed to win a vote of confidence by 95 to 38 in the upper house of the 315-member Senate but his key coalition allies refused to take part in the vote that would have ensured the government's survival.

Draghi went to the Quirinale Palace earlier on Thursday morning to submit his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, after brief remarks he delivered to legislators in the Chamber of Deputies.

“Thank you for all the work done together in this period,” Draghi said, clearly moved by the applause, adding, “Sometimes, even central bankers have a heart.”

According to a statement by the president, Mattarella has “taken note” of Draghi’s resignation and asked his government to stay on in a caretaker role.

Last week, the prime minister had offered to resign after key partner populist 5-Star Movement (5SM) pulled its support over opposition to parts of a relief bill for skyrocketing energy prices that had triggered the confidence vote. However, the president turned down the offer, asking Draghi to go back to parliament to gauge his support.

Draghi has time and again stressed that there was no viable governing alternative to the unusually broad coalition he led.

People in Italy had expressed unprecedented sentiment in the past week, appealing for Draghi to keep on governing, amid rising inflation, high energy costs and a surge in COVID-19 pandemic infections.

Almost all leading Italian newspapers on Thursday expressed their outrage at the surreal outcome, as Italy, the third-largest economy in the eurozone, is dealing with rising inflation and energy costs.