President dissolves Parliament: Italians have to go to the polls

After the resignation of the prime minister there are new elections in Italy.

President dissolves Parliament: Italians have to go to the polls

After the resignation of the prime minister there are new elections in Italy. To this end, President Mattarella dissolves the chambers of parliament. The ballot could take place as early as September. The far-right Fratelli d'Italia are currently the strongest force.

Italy's President Sergio Mattarella ordered the dissolution of both chambers of parliament after the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi. He signed a corresponding decree, said Mattarella in Rome. This makes it clear: Italy will elect a new parliament earlier than planned. Actually, the elections would not have been due until spring 2023. "Dissolving the House of Parliament is always the last choice," Mattarella said. The political situation led to this decision.

In the middle of the holiday season, people in Italy will probably face restless election campaign weeks. The voting must be completed within 70 days. The date for the early election was therefore set for September 25, 2022. This was announced during a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Rome, as reported by the Ansa and Adnkronos news agencies, citing participants.

Draghi's government will remain in office until there is a new prime minister. In a speech, Draghi thanked Head of State Sergio Mattarella for the trust he had placed in him. "We must be very proud of the work we have done on behalf of the President of the Republic in the service of all citizens," the 74-year-old continued. The former head of the European Central Bank called for determination to continue working in the coming weeks.

According to the latest polls, the right-wing extremist Fratelli d'Italia under party leader Giorgia Meloni are currently in the lead. Together with the large centre-right parties Forza Italia led by ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini's right-wing Lega, a majority in parliament might be possible. Such a government would probably be problematic for migration policy and relations with the EU, among other things.

Mattarella's step had already been announced shortly beforehand with the summoning of the two Speakers of the Parliament, Maria Elisabetta Casellati (Senate) and Robert Fico (Chamber of Deputies), since he summoned them on the basis of Article 88 of the Constitution, which deals with the dissolution of the two chambers . Earlier, Draghi offered his resignation to the 80-year-old Sicilian Mattarella.

For Draghi it is clear that his government is about to end. Three of his governing parties did not vote for him in the Senate on Wednesday and did not take part in the vote. The 74-year-old Roman fell short of his required goal of a broad parliamentary majority - although he actually won the vote of confidence. He had already wanted to resign a week earlier when the left-wing populist 5-Star Movement, also in the Senate, did not vote for him. At the time, however, Mattarella still refused and sent Draghi to parliament to report - it was a quasi-attempt to keep his government alive.

Political Rome has been at odds ever since, with the parties accusing each other of being to blame for the fall of Draghi's cabinet and the escalation of the government crisis. Politically, it is likely to become even more difficult for Draghi to push through important reforms prescribed by the EU that are actually pending in parliament. The country has to implement these in order to get the billions in corona reconstruction funds from Brussels.

Draghi was also seen abroad as a guarantor of stability for Italy, which was otherwise sometimes turbulently governed. He made the country with almost 60 million inhabitants visible again on the international stage, traveling to Kyiv with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron. Economically, there is a lot at stake for Italy. The markets have already reacted negatively. The Milan stock exchange fell significantly into the red in the meantime and closed red. The risk premium (spread) for ten-year Italian government bonds in relation to German government bonds rose significantly.

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