Italian president refuses resignation of prime minister Mario Draghi

Coalition partner the Five Star Movement fails to back 74-year-old technocrat in vote of confidence

Italy’s president refused to accept the resignation of prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after a political rebellion threatened to bring down the country’s coalition government over runaway inflation.

Mr Draghi, former chief of the European Central Bank, has led a broad “national unity” coalition for the last 18 months. It has been held together by the goal of bringing the country through the turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath.

But coalition partner the Five Star Movement failed to back the 74-year-old technocrat in a vote of confidence in parliament due to dissatisfaction with his plan to combat soaring prices, leading Mr Draghi to announce his resignation.

“The national unity coalition that backed this government no longer exists,” said Mr Draghi in a statement released by his office.


“I have always said that this executive would have continued only if there was a clear prospect of being able to carry out the government programme on which the political forces had voted their confidence … these conditions do not exist anymore.”

Mr Draghi announced he would formally hand over his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella.

But shortly afterwards, President Mattarella’s office released a statement to say that the resignation had been refused.

Clearer picture

The president had asked Mr Draghi to “present himself to parliament” and get a clearer picture of the political situation, the statement read.

The role of the president in Italy is to act as a political arbiter, brokering the formation of governments, and the statement indicates rounds of negotiations may lie ahead to try to patch together a new majority for Mr Draghi to lead.

In recent months Italy’s coalition has been strained by the darkening economic outlook as prices for basic goods surge for households and national borrowing costs rise, as well as by opposition to Mr Draghi’s policy of sending weapons to Ukraine.

The far-right opposition Brothers of Italy party, which is riding high in polls, celebrated the resignation of Mr Draghi who was appointed as an unelected technocrat and is Italy’s sixth prime minister in the past decade. They called for elections to be held immediately, rather than their scheduled date of early 2023.

Naomi O’Leary

Naomi O’Leary

Naomi O’Leary is Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times