Italian PM Mario Draghi resigns after week of turmoil

A year-and-a-half after he was appointed as Italy’s unelected head of a unity government, Mario Draghi has resigned as prime minister, the BBC reports.

He told President Sergio Mattarella he was standing down after three parties in his government refused to back him in a confidence vote the night before.

The president asked him to remain as caretaker leader and early elections are expected this autumn.

Mr Draghi, 74, is a popular figure in Italy.

He was dubbed Super Mario for his handling of the eurozone crisis as head of the European Central Bank. In February last year, he was given the task of guiding Italy through the Covid pandemic and economic recovery, bolstered by a big EU package conditional on major reforms.

He first tendered his resignation a week ago when a populist party in his broad-based government refused to back his economic package, prompting a political crisis.

President Mattarella asked him to stay in the post and, on Wednesday, he told the upper house of parliament he would continue if the political parties were ready to back a strong, cohesive government with a “new pact of trust.”

Before heading to the presidential palace, the Quirinale, on Thursday morning, Mr Draghi addressed the lower house of parliament and was given a round of applause. “Even central bankers have their hearts touched sometimes. Thank you for all the work done in this period,” he told MPs.

President Mattarella said his government would remain in office to handle current affairs, but did not say exactly what would happen next. Elections were due to take place in the first half of 2023, but will most likely be brought forward to October.

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