Italy’s Prime Minister Draghi meets Mattarella after the M5S snub a confidence vote. Draghi previously stated he would not continue without the support of M5S.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi went to the Quirinal Palace to meet President Sergio Mattarella on Thursday after the 5-Star Movement (M5S) failed to take part in a confidence vote in the Senate on a government decree. Earlier this week, Draghi said he would not continue with his government of national unity without the party’s support.
PD leader Enrico Letta said “We take note of this decision. It isn’t ours and we don’t agree with it. Today we will support the confidence vote with conviction”.
The decree, on aid for the cost-of-living crisis, passed with 172 votes in favour and 39 against.
M5S split leads to government’s instability
M5S leader and ex-premier Giuseppe Conte announced yesterday that the movement’s lawmakers would snub Thursday’s vote.
Draghi’s administration was formed early in 2021 to address the COVID-19 pandemic and manage almost €200 billion in grants and low-interest loans from the European Union for Italy’s National Resilience and Recovery Plan (NRRP) after ex-premier Conte’s second government collapsed.
Until now Draghi’s coalition had been supported by all the major parties in parliament, except for the right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI).
M5S had been the biggest party in parliament, having won most votes in the 2018 general election. However, this is no longer the case after Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio quit to form a breakaway group. The reason for the split? Disagreement over Conte’s opposition to sending more weapons to Ukraine.
Recently, Conte presented Draghi with a list of demands he said the M5S wanted to be met in order to stay in the executive. On Tuesday, Draghi showed willingness to reach agreement on some of these issues, including a demand for the introduction of a minimum wage.
But, he also stressed the sense of his government would be ‘lost” if the parties supporting it started to lay down ultimatums.
Could lead to early elections
If the Draghi government collapses, it may be necessary for Italy to hold early elections in the autumn. This is what the right-wing leaders Matteo Salvini (League) and Giorgio Meloni (Fdl) have been calling for.
On Thursday, Salvini spoke of “full harmony within the centre-right” alliance, which also includes ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia as well as FdI and the League.
The M5S and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) had been expected to run as allies at the next election. Before the M5S snub they had been scheduled for early 2023, at the end of the current parliamentary term.
However, Letta said that the M5S’s position on the Draghi government “changes the political scenario”.
Why the M5S split?
This could be a way for the once anti-establishment M5S to reaffirm its identity. Founded in 2009 by Bepe Grillo, the internet-based movement fast won support. Many of the electorate were disaffected with Italy’s traditional parties. As a result, the movement won the most votes in the 2018 general election.
It has now been part of three coalition governments. The compromises it has had to make to remain in power has seen a large portion of its support fall away. Currently, M5S is fourth in the polls with the support of around 12% of the electorate, according to surveys.
The departure of Luigi Di Maio caused fractions in the party which now appears to be trying to re-establish itself.