Italy's parties enthuse over Draghi after talks to form government

Gavin Jones and Giuseppe Fonte
·2-min read

By Gavin Jones and Giuseppe Fonte

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's political parties on the left and right enthused at the prospect of backing a Mario Draghi government after meeting the prime minister-designate on Tuesday as he wrapped up his second round of consultations.

Draghi, 73, a former head of the European Central Bank, is expected to report back to Italy's head of state and propose his list of cabinet ministers by Thursday, political sources said.

By then he will know whether he has the backing of the largest party in parliament, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which is holding an online ballot of its members over the next two days to decide its stance.

On Tuesday, 5-Star's leader Vito Crimi said it had received important reassurances from Draghi over his intentions on welfare policy and the transition to renewable energy, two priorities dear to the party.

Draghi also gave no suggestion he planned to apply for a loan from the euro zone's bailout fund, something 5-Star staunchly opposes, Crimi said after the last of Draghi's meetings with all the groups in parliament.

Previously, Draghi had secured the virtually unconditional backing of the right-wing League, the centre-left Democratic Party and the conservative Forza Italia led by the 84-year-old, four-time former premier Silvio Berlusconi.

All the party chiefs said they were pleased with Draghi's ideas on how to stimulate economic growth, safeguard the environment and tackle the coronavirus crisis.

"We are all required to give up calculations, tactics and electoral interests to put the salvation of the country first," Berlusconi told reporters.

While there seems no doubt that Draghi will get a majority, he faces a tough task putting together cabinet team and policy programme to please the long-time bitter political enemies that are now queuing up to join his coalition.

The parties said after their meetings that there had been no discussion of ministerial posts.

Draghi could either fill his cabinet with non-partisan technocrats, or pick representatives of each party to be more sure of their support when tough policy decisions crop up. Many commentators expect a mix of technocrats and politicians.

Political sources told Reuters that among the favourites for the key post of economy minister are Daniele Franco, currently the number two at the Bank of Italy, and Dario Scannapieco, vice president of the European Investment Bank.

(Additional reporting by Angelo Amante and Crispian Balmer; Editing by Mark Heinrich)