'No, Mario': Italy's president rejects Draghi's exit

STORY: After a day of political drama in Italy that threatened to send its government into chaos, Prime Minister Mario Draghi tried to tender his resignation on Thursday.

However, Italy’s president rejected Draghi’s offer to leave.

It’s effectively put the government on pause until next week.

President Sergio Mattarella asked Draghi to address Parliament to get a clearer picture of what’s going on, and he’s expected to do that next Wednesday.

Draghi had said earlier on Thursday he intended to resign after a confidence vote on his government and its approach to fighting inflation.

He won it, but without the backing of the 5-Star movement, a coalition party.

Draghi had upped the stakes by saying he would not want to lead his 18-month-old government without 5-Star, which itself emerged as the largest party in the last election, 2018.

But since then it has seen defections and diminishing public support.

As Reuters’ Chief Rome Correspondent Crispian Balmer explains, the timing of all of this couldn’t be worse.

“I don't think that it's really for anyone's benefit to have a major political meltdown at this point. There is a cost of living crisis, there is a heatwave, there's a drought, there is the war in Ukraine. It's not a good moment for people to be playing politics. So I think we've got to see whether Draghi in the coming days can convince Five Star to fall in to the ranks once again and try to overcome their difficulties and limp through these final months of the left due to open the way for elections next year as is foreseen by the constitution."

Divisions among Italy’s political parties over major issues are only growing worse under the gravity of a general election set for next year.

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