Italian President Sergio Mattarella has invited former European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi to talk about forming a new government. Dragui passed the ECB baton to Christine Lagarde in 2019 after an eight-year stint. Draghi is set to meet President Matarella later on Wednesday.
The summons comes shortly after Mattarella called on parliament on Tuesday to swiftly back the formation of a new, non-political government to lead the coronavirus-battered country, after attempts to revive the previous coalition under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte failed.
The president argued that the country, notorious for its difficult coalitions and fragile governments in recent years, could ill afford snap elections at the height of a global pandemic and the resultant economic fallout.
Italy has been in the midst of a political tumult in recent weeks since a junior coalition partner pulled the plug on support for Conte's government, citing dissatisfaction at his handling of the pandemic. Matters came to a head on January 14, when former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi withdrew the support of his Italia Viva party, taking away Conte's majority in parliament.
While Conte stepped down last week, he was initially charged with trying to stay at the helm of a reorganized government. Mattarella had given the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and Conte's center-left Democratic Party (DP) until Tuesday to fix the differences with the Italia Viva party but the parties failed to meet the deadline.
At present, there remain differences, in light of which I have not recorded a unanimous willingness to give life to a majority, House Speaker Roberto Fico said, after a meeting with Mattarella.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday night, Mattarella said the country could not currently afford to have a political campaign and an early parliamentary election. He added that the people were demanding ”concrete and rapid answers'' to the health, social and economic crises triggered by the pandemic.