Europe Politics

Draghi wins backing of Italy's Five-Star Movement, paving way for new government

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Key Points
  • Mario Draghi looks to have a solid majority in Rome and no single party would be able to derail his administration.
  • He will now face confidence votes in Parliament next week and will present his Cabinet to the president on Friday.
Designated Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
AM POOL | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON — Mario Draghi has gathered enough support from Italian lawmakers and is now highly likely to lead that country's next government.

Members of the leftist Five-Star Movement opted to back Draghi, prime minister-designate, in an online poll conducted Thursday, with 59.3% supporting the former chief of the European Central Bank. Draghi looks to have a solid majority in Rome and no single party would be able to derail his administration.

He will now face confidence votes in Parliament next week and will present his Cabinet to the president on Friday.

Draghi was called on to solve a political crisis in the third-largest euro economy. The chaos began when a small party, called Italia Viva, withdrew its support for the fragile coalition government. This meant that the pro-EU Cabinet lost the necessary working majority in the Italian Parliament which raised the prospect of a snap election at a time of a severe health and economic crisis.

Following a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella last week, Draghi agreed to try to form a national unity government. Famed for rescuing the euro in the grips of a sovereign debt crisis, Draghi will face the tough task of leading the economic recovery of his own country.

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"Today what we can say is that populism is weaker in Italy, both for the intervention of Draghi and the intervention of the pandemic and European integration," Lorenzo Castellani, a historian at LUISS Guido Carli, a private university, told CNBC on Friday.

A Draghi-led government, albeit more technocratic than political, would avoid the need for snap elections, something that most mainstream politicians want to avoid. Polls show the anti-immigration Lega party would win the most votes in an election, and could potentially form an alliance with the far-right Brothers of Italy party.

Alongside the Five-Star Movement, the centrist Democratic Party and Italia Viva have also backed Draghi. Matteo Renzi, the leader of Italia Viva, told CNBC last week he believes the country will be in "very good hands" with Draghi.

"I am so happy because today Italy is in very good hands," Renzi said. "Mario Draghi was the Italian who saved the euro. Now I think he will be the European who will save Italy," he added.

However, there are doubts about how long Draghi's premiership will last.

"After one year of this exceptional situation the 2023 elections will be closer and the partie(s) will look to their interests once again," Castellani said on Friday. "Draghi might be effective for a few months but it will be difficult to consider Draghi as a permanent solution for Italian politics," he added.

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