Italy’s political turmoil triggers EU concerns

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(VOVWORLD) - Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Thursday dissolved the parliament to pave the way for early elections after accepting the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Italy’s political limbo has raised concerns among EU leaders.

Italy’s political turmoil triggers EU concerns - ảnh 1Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi at a session of the Senate in Rome, June 21, 2022. Photo: AFP/VNA

"The dissolution of the parliamentary chamber is always the last choice," President Mattarella said, citing the Parliament’s lack of support for the Government. He said that elections must be held within 70 day, most likely on September 25.

Italy’s political turmoil

Political tensions began on July 13 when former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) Party, threatened to withdraw M5S from the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Draghi. M5S, Italy’s largest political party, held 30% of the seats in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies after the 2018 general election. M5S joined the ruling coalition, which was established in February 2021, with the Lega Party, Forza Italia, the Democratic Party, Italia Viva, and Article One. Soon after, leaders of the Lega Party and the Democratic Party threatened to withdraw from the coalition, prompting Draghi to offer his resignation to President Mattarella on July 15, but his resignation was rejected. Mattarella asked the Prime Minister to hold talks with parliament and find a solution to the political crisis.

However, on Wednesday, the coalition officially disbanded when M5S, the Democratic Party, and Forza Italia (of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi) did not participate in a vote to end the division and restore the coalition.

A day later (Thursday), Prime Minister Draghi again submitted his resignation to President Mattarella and this time it was accepted. Draghi was asked to continue his job until elections are held.

Mario Draghi, 74, once the Governor of the European Central Bank (ECB), was considered by observers to be a "safe choice" to steer Italy  to recovery after COVID-19. The collapse of his government deals a heavy blow to Italy, now battered by decades-high inflation. Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said “Italy, in these difficult times, is impossible without Draghi,” while President Mattarella warned of serious challenges facing the country.

Italy’s political turmoil triggers EU concerns - ảnh 2Prime Minister Mario Draghi (left) and President Sergio Mattarella at the Presidential Office, July 21. Photo: AFP

EU concerns

Shortly after Draghi submitted his second resignation, France’s European Affairs Minister Laurence Boone warned of "times of uncertainty" in Italy. She described Mario Draghi as an exceptional statesman, a partner for France, and a pillar of Europe.

Analysts point out several reasons why EU leaders are concerned. First, after the UK left the EU, Italy, the EU's third largest economy, was considered a new pillar to join Germany and France in leading the EU out of the COVID-19 pandemic and record high inflation. Second, Italy’s instability threatens a domino effect among other EU members. Experts compare Italy to Britain, a former EU member with strong ties to the EU, whose Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just resigned, and cite the deeply-split internal politics of the EU in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, gas and food price hikes and high inflation. Obviously, the EU will have a hard time getting through this difficult period.