Mario Draghi wins backing of largest party in Italian parliament

The biggest party in Italy’s parliament swung its weight behind Premier-designate Mario Draghi, assuring him broad cross-party support as he prepares to form a government.

Members of the Five Star Movement, which has anti-establishment roots and has long denounced bankers and technocrats, voted online by 59% in favour of backing the former head of the European Central Bank. They were asked whether they wanted the movement to support a Draghi-led government which would place strong emphasis on green policies.

Draghi has now forged a parliamentary majority following two rounds of talks with political leaders, and he’s expected to report back to President Sergio Mattarella with his cabinet picks as early as this week. Other backers include the center-left Democratic Party and the anti-migrant League of Matteo Salvini.

In talks with party leaders Draghi has prioritised countering the pandemic and kick-starting Italy’s vaccination campaign, reviving the economy using the country’s $254 billion share of the European Union’s recovery package, and pushing for a common euro-area budget. Numerically, Draghi does not need Five Star, though the party’s support will allow him to muster wide consensus across the political spectrum.

The online vote exacerbated tensions within Five Star, with Alessandro Di Battista, one of its most prominent members, saying after the outcome was announced that he’d leave the party.

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