Though Draghi’s government won a confidence vote in the Senate on a relief bill to help Italians facing soaring energy costs, 5-Star senators were absent, raising the spectre of a snap general election.
Italy's President has rejected Prime Minister Mario Draghi's offer to step down amid a crisis sparked by the refusal of the 5-Star Movement to participate in a government confidence vote.
President Sergio Mattarella "did not accept the resignation, and invited the prime minister to appear before parliament to make a statement," the presidential palace said on Thursday.
Draghi could address parliament next week to see if he has the majority to stay on.
Though Draghi's government won Thursday's vote in the Senate on a relief bill to help Italians facing soaring energy costs, 5-Star senators were absent, raising the spectre of a snap general election.
"I want to announce that this evening I will hand in my resignation to the president," Draghi told his cabinet later in the day.
He said the conditions necessary to carry on with the coalition government — which includes parties from the right, the left, the centre and the populist 5-Star — were "no longer there" and the "pact of trust that the government is based on has gone".
Parliament’s term expires in spring 2023. If President Mattarella can’t come up with a solution so Draghi’s government can continue, he is expected to dissolve the legislature and call an early election, which could come as early as late September.
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Italy's government wins confidence vote in upper house despite boycott of 5-Star political party; PM Draghi to meet president – Reuters pic.twitter.com/Q84YFID6V2— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) July 14, 2022
The 5-Star, headed by former premier Giuseppe Conte, is a formerly anti-establishment party that has plummeted in the polls and lost parliamentarians since joining the government, hurt by policy U-turns and internal divisions.
The 5-Star has been complaining that its interests have been ignored.
"We are not taking part in the vote on this measure today...but this position of ours is not about confidence in the government," Mariolina Castellone, the leader of Five Star in the Senate, said before Thursday's vote.
The vote was called on an aid package worth about 23 billion euros, designed to help combat rampant inflation. But it also included a provision to allow a garbage incinerator to be built in Rome — something the 5-Star has long opposed.
Draghi's government won the vote 172-39.
Analysts suggested the beleaguered party was not trying to collapse the government but attempting to win back some of its lost support by doubling down on its principles ahead of the scheduled 2023 general election.
Draghi was appointed prime minister in February 2021 by President Mattarella and charged with carrying out key reforms required under the EU's largest tranche of post-pandemic recovery funds — a package worth approximately 200 billion euros for Italy.
The government has since found itself embroiled in the conflict in Ukraine, taking a strong, pro-EU line, while battling soaring inflation at home.
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